CIL funding to further council’s carbon neutral aim
Babergh District Council has approved £131,239 in funding from housing growth for local initiatives, including switching the council’s fleet to alternative fuels – significantly reducing carbon emissions in the district.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is collected from developers when they build new homes in Babergh – providing the local infrastructure needed to keep pace with housing growth and supporting the council’s vision for thriving communities.
Bids from the latest CIL funding round were considered at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, with councillors unanimously approving £50,000 to fully fund the installation of a new Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Fuel Tank at the council’s Chilton Depot in Sudbury.
This will progress plans for the council’s fleet, which currently generates just over a quarter of Babergh District Council’s total carbon emissions, to switch to the fuel – enabling a direct reduction in CO2 of up to 90%.
Proposals also form a major step in the council’s Carbon Reduction Management Plan, which outlines how net zero carbon emissions aim to be achieved by 2030.
Although initial expenditure is required, switching to HVO will result in lower maintenance costs and a longer engine life for the council’s public realm, housing, and waste and recycling collection vehicles.
The council’s ambition for a greener Babergh will also be supported by the allocation of £22,000 in CIL funding for the installation of three electric vehicle charging points, to promote sustainable travel, as well as other improvement works to the Old School Community Centre car park in Long Melford.
In addition to the new charging points, 14 extra parking spaces, including four disabled bays, will be provided at the centre, which pre-lockdown hosted a range of local clubs from ballroom dancing to Tai Chi.
Drainage and lighting works will also be carried out as part of the project, with the latter set to improve security and visibility for all car park users.
Care will be taken to ensure that planned improvements do not detract from the character and appearance of the area, with special consideration given to ensure the materials used for the car park’s surface treatment are in keeping with listed buildings in the vicinity.
Councillors also agreed a CIL bid from nearby village, Lavenham, whose Parish Council requested £43,440 towards upgrading the public toilets on Church Street.
Improvement works will be undertaken to enhance the existing building’s appearance and reconfigure the layout of the current toilet facilities, enabling direct access to a single stall. This proposed design is both COVID-19 and disability compliant, and should significantly reduce operating costs for the council.
It also provides scope for the creation of a much-needed parish office for Lavenham.
Another Babergh community set to benefit from the latest round of funding is Cockfield, with £15,799.36 awarded for the ongoing regeneration of a meadow and disused railway in the village.
The land, purchased from Suffolk County Council, will offer a public open space and sheltered picnic area, as well as providing joined up access to other local green spaces.
Work on the project, led by Cockfield Parish Council, began in 2019, after CIL funding of £27,843.51 was awarded in September 2018.
This latest bid takes into account unspent previous CIL funds – due to unforeseen delays linked to accessibility of the land – and also reflects an increase to overall project costs as a result of additional necessary works to the bridge, following a recent inspection.
Cllr Clive Arthey, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said:
“Today’s bid round demonstrates how CIL funding continues to support a wide range of community initiatives – benefitting Babergh residents, not just now, but for many years to come.
“I am confident that future generations will also reap the rewards of CIL enabling our council’s fleet to switch to alternative fuels – offering a significant and immediate reduction to carbon emissions, and furthering our ongoing ambition to address climate change.
“As ward member for Lavenham, I am especially pleased that the Parish Council has been successful in their bid to refurbish the public conveniences on Church Street – providing disability and COVID compliant facilities, along with a new parish office for the village.”
District CIL is income retained by the district council to spend on infrastructure to support development. This money must be applied for and the decision to spend material amounts has to be taken by Cabinet.
Further information about how the CIL works can be found on the councils website, with details about how the levy has been allocated available on the councils’ award-winning Developer Contributions Database.