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Council sitting on £3.7m of unspent affordable housing cash

More than £3million of cash given to the council from developers that do not build enough affordable housing has not been spent.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that in January, £3,729,000 was yet to be spent from Section 106 (S106) payments.

S106 can provide a way for developers to get a scheme with insufficient affordable housing approved by giving the council money to build them elsewhere.

The FOI shows the council received £3,643,000 in payments between 2012 and 2017. It also reveals the Royal Borough spent £2,263,000 of S106 money in that same period.

However, only 32 affordable homes were built, bought or brought back into use with S106 money during those five years.

The FOI also shows £1,220,000 of the unspent £3.7m has been allocated to three schemes – a ‘low cost housing do-it-yourself shared ownership scheme (DIYSO)’, a ‘key worker DISYO scheme’, and the Brill House project.

The council has told the Advertiser that although the FOI was responded to in January, the figures essentially remain the same.

Leader of the opposition Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) said: “I have asked more than once, several times, ‘could you tell me what this is earmarked for?’

“And they can’t.”

She believed it could be used on sites such as the planned Maidenhead Golf Club development.

Cllr Ross McWilliams, principal member for housing and communications, said in a statement: “Over the last 12 months the council has managed to increase our pipeline of new affordable housing without relying on Section 106 contributions.

“Ninety-eight new affordable homes are expected to be delivered in the borough this financial year, providing opportunities for residents for social rent,affordable rent, rent-to-buy and shared ownership. We continue to work with partners to broker new affordable homes for residents.”

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