Under the Government’s 2011 Localism Act Neighbourhood Forums benefit from a building tax charged by the Local Authority. This tax is referred to as the Community Infrastructure Levy and is designed to raise money in order to provide specific facilities a community may need as a result of the development. A Neighbourhood Forum receives 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy raised within its boundaries, the rest goes to the Council. Poole Borough Council has recently updated its original scheme and this is likely to gain approval at the February Council meeting. While the changes will make very little difference to our financial position and ability to introduce new community schemes, the changes impact severely upon Poole Quays Forum. With a zero Community Infrastructure Levy across its Plan area Poole Quays Forum will have no income to fund its proposals.
Over the last few years a significant fund has accrued to the Council with approximately £2.8 million being distributed through a bidding system which neither of the two Neighbourhood Forums have been allowed to participate in. It is clear from the sums involved that this scheme disadvantages both Broadstone and Poole Quays Forums. The matter has been raised with the appropriate Council Committee and a recommendation to review the scheme is being proposed at Full Council in mid- February. If this is approved it will be for the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to carry out the review. We await with interest.