Bexley Council saw £1.461,037m income arrive in 2020/21 from new developments built in the borough via the Community Infrastructure Levy funding, bringing the total since 2015 to £13 million.
Bexley Council opted to spend income on school expansion, playgrounds, Hall Place, the former Erith library, the new Sidcup library and cinema and new tree planting:
Bexley’s total income is ahead of neighbouring Greenwich borough who once again trail other London boroughs but behind neighbouring Dartford who saw £7.1m:
Tower Hamlets = £50,164,085
Wandsworth = £23,286,702
Brent = £16,104,767
Southwark = £13,514,695
Hammersmith & Fulham = £12,577,930.52
Newham = £5,518,389.34 (Excludes much of Stratford)
Islington = £4,264,139
Merton = £4,120,006
Haringey = £3,098,985
Lambeth – £2,850,330
Olympic Legacy Development Corporation = £2.2m (covers area around the Olympic Park in Stratford)
Waltham Forest = £1,616,848.47
Greenwich = £1,016,563
Dartford = £7.1 million
In the same year the authority issued demand notices for £2,219,779 in income.
From reports I’ve so far seen this year, Greenwich are alone in London for not including this key information in their annual report.
Greenwich’s extremely low income over six years is due to setting a very low rate for developers – particular in the west of the borough – which has seen revenue paid by developers to the council for services in the borough fall well short of estimates (£9.7m v £27.5 estimated) with Greenwich at the foot of London boroughs for revenue in some years. Despite this some Greenwich councillors in the ruling Labour party have denied there’s any issue over the past week.
Greenwich also promised in a 2015 planning examiners report to look at revising totals by 2018. It appears they never did in 2018 despite the report stating “The council makes a commitment …to a review within three years of implementation”.
Greenwich Council’s website now states they were scheduled to commence a review over three years late in autumn 2021, though there’s no evidence this has begun:
If they’d met their 2015 estimate, revised levels in 2018 or set rate higher initially in 2015 as the planning examiner’s report states was possible, it’s almost certain they would have paid off their Crossrail tab some years ago and now be in a position to invest in numerous borough improvements.
Greenwich Council and some councillors like to claim they couldn’t set higher rates in 2015:
However the 2015 report stated Greenwich sought that rate adopted: “The Council is proposing to charge a single rate of £70 psm”.
The 2015 report stated rates up to £265 psm (closer to inner London averages) were viable:
Why did Greenwich choose such a low rate which has cost residents in the subsequent six years?
It’s also an odd line to take that different rates would be confusing given it’s the norm in all boroughs.
The inspector did request a £40 rate in the east as two rates were common, but this could have been more than offset by increasing rates closer to London averages in the west. Plenty of other boroughs did so at the time yet higher rates in places have secured greater income. Here’s Haringey for example:
Haringey have also revised rates and look to increase the lowest rate in 2022 to £55. The process can take over a year, so even if Greenwich have begun they are some way from being able to generate additional revenue.
Greenwich could now be capturing greater income if they’d reviewed in 2018 as they committed in 2015 to doing.
As it is, zero income is again going to be spent on improving various parts of Greenwich borough from this key funding source. New trees, park improvements, schools, healthcare, shopping areas, estates and many other areas will not see a penny from this key fund.