Cheshire East Council is progressing the final framework for the New Homes Bonus scheme, which will determine the way in which a new community fund will be shared among qualifying areas within the borough.
Introduced this financial year, the scheme will see up to £2m distributed for local projects and community needs, linked to the number of new homes built in the borough and the empty homes brought back into use.
A council task group is drawing up a final design for the New Homes Bonus Community Fund and a report is expected to go before the council’s cabinet in June. Allocations will be apportioned in line with the recognised highways areas of Congleton, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow.
Communities, supported by elected ward members, will have the chance to bid for funding for projects that address local priorities. Funding is based on an acceptable submission of ideas through the bidding process.
The recommended minimum allocation is £10,000 but bids must meet a specific set of criteria, including the need to meet one or more of the council’s six strategic outcomes. Some examples discussed by the task group and the council’s overview and scrutiny committee were:
· Community sport schemes;
· Community transport schemes;
· Community library provision;
· Homelessness prevention;
· Road safety.
All bids would be scored for their community value, volunteering, outcomes and value for money. Bids are not required until the scheme is formally launched in the summer and more information will be published nearer the time.
Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communication, said: “The New Homes Bonus Community Fund is designed to ensure that all parts of the borough benefit from the significant housing growth we have seen in recent years.
“We will be inviting communities, with the help of elected ward members, to engage with how services are delivered at a local level and put forward their ideas for how they would like to see the money spent.
“This funding is not in any way connected with local developer contributions for highways schemes or other infrastructure needs.
“There is a national and local demand for new homes and the New Homes Bonus Scheme is an incentive to councils and communities to help meet that demand.”
More than 5,600 homes have been built in Cheshire East since 2011and the funding allocations will be weighted to reflect those areas of the borough where large scale house building has taken place.