Thank you confirming there is a £43 145 000 discrepancy in the estimated cost of an M1-A6 Link Road. It is unusual for estimates of infrastructure costs to be revised downwards by such a large amount. You say the Council has secured £11 000 000 from the Local Growth Fund towards the cost of the link road. It appears the Council is yet to receive these funds from Government otherwise the link road’s Capital requirements 2017-2021 would be £44 855 000 instead of £55 855 000. You go on to say the Council may get £31 000 000 from the Local Growth fund in the future. Unlike the A5-M1 Link Road the M1-A6 Link Road is not a Highways Agency project so from the Government’s point of view the link road is not ‘critical’ strategic infrastructure needed to ensure a national economic benefit. When the Government considers whether to fund roads like the M1-A6 link road its decisions will reflect its own priorities rather than Councils. If the Council does not receive Government or European Union funding the entire revenue costs and potentially the capital costs of the link road will be paid for by the people of Central Bedfordshire through further rises in Council Tax rather than sharing the cost of the link road with all United Kingdom tax payers.
I note you have not commented on the amount of CIL income lost since the Council failed to get its Development Strategy approved. The Council’s previously published draft CIL scheme sets a 0% levy for the developments at Houghton Regis North and Luton North. These developments together with Leighton Buzzard East will be the largest in Central Bedfordshire and therefore potentially the largest revenue contributors to the Council’s funds. So if the Council’s new CIL scheme sets a 0% levy on these housing developments Council Tax will probably increase further. The Government intention is for CIL to benefit the people living in areas directly impacted by development. A 0% levy would mean Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard Town Council’s will have to manage the consequences of largescale housing developments without receiving CIL funding for developments within their communities. Currently the Council is failing to deliver a 5 year housing land supply and as a consequence is approving inappropriate housing developments in Potton, Blunham and Clophill without sound policy reasons for doing so. So unless any CIL levy set for development in these areas is applied retrospectively these communities have lost out on financial mitigation for the consequences of these inappropriate developments. The potential loss of CIL income for Potton is significant because it has an emerging Neighbourhood Plan and therefore would expect to gain approximately 35% of the funds raised by the levy.