MISSING out on millions of pounds needed to cope with extra pupils could spell disaster for district schools.
Lib Dem councillor Peter Morse is concerned without a Core Strategy in place secondary schools and sixth forms will lose out on much-needed funding.
Recent government changes limit what can be claimed under section 106 agreements – which are made between housing developers and local authorities and would often see a contribution to community facilities such as schools and hospitals.
It was the government’s intention to replace these with a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charge, but for this to be valid a council is required to have a Core Strategy in place.
Coun Morse said: “Stratford District Council is caught between two regimes – unable to charge CIL because it doesn’t have a Core Strategy, but in some cases unable to charge S106 either.
“This has all the makings of a disaster for local secondary schools. Not only are we facing a flood of planning applications from developers, but it now looks as though they can get out of having to pay for many of the facilities that their new developments will require.”
The new S106 rules state no claim can be made where more than five similar contributions have been pooled towards a joint project since 2010.
At a recent planning committee meeting, district council officers suggested money could be claimed for primary schools, but contributions for secondary and sixth form education were ruled out due to to existence of five pooled contributions which would therefore not be CIL compliant.
Coun Morse added: “It’s a bonus for the developers, but will the councils have to fall back on the council tax payers to foot the bill to provide the extra school places needed because of the new developments?”
Coun Moorse is calling on the council to seek legal advice on whether another way can be found to make successful claims.