Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice to Melanie Carr of Democratic and Scrutiny Services and supplied the text (contact details below) by midday on Thursday 8 December 2022, three working days before the day of the meeting. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-
· at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.
If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct anyone who may be taking a recording to cease while you speak.
There was one public question from Mr Alisdair Clark, who was late joining the meeting via TEAMs due to technical issues. His question was therefore read out by the clerk to the meeting, as follows:
Has NYCC shared with all elected councillors a copy of all legal advice obtained by the council relating to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Grant Scheme in Ryedale. Can you please confirm who provided this advice, the total cost of this advice, who requested this advice and who was it sanctioned by? Can NYCC guarantee today that Ryedale’s Community Infrastructure Levy funds will be reserved for community Infrastructure and spent within the Ryedale area in a timely manner if they are not spent before vesting day and are transferred to NYC. Can you please confirm the collective general position of North Yorkshire County Council towards the applicants and existing recipients of Ryedale District Council’s CIL fund?
Mr Clark joined the meeting as his question was being read out.
In response, Barry Khan, Assistant Chief Executive (Legal & Democratic Services) confirmed that legal advice had been requested by Ryedale District Council in October 2022, and that NYCC legal services had been provided the following advice in-house:
Section 24 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 provides the Secretary of State may direct a relevant authority to obtain the written consent of a District Council to enter into any capital contract under which the consideration payable by the District Council exceeds £1m. (Section 24(1)(b)).
The Secretary of State issued a Direction under Section 24 to state in effect a District Council, being an authority which is to be dissolved, may not without the consent of North Yorkshire County Council enter into a capital contract exceeding £1m or a non-capital contract over £100,000 (subject to certain conditions). Definition of capital contract means a contract involving capital expenditure for the purposes under Part 1 of the Local Government Act 2003.
Section 27(2) provides that “in determining whether the limit specified in a direction by virtue of Section 24(1)(b) or (c) is exceeded in the case of a contract entered into by a relevant authority (“the contract in question”), the consideration payable by the relevant authority under any relevant contract shall be taken into account”.
Section 27(3) provides that a relevant contract means a contract which is either or both:
(a) a contract entered into after the 31st December 2006 by the Council and the person with whom the contract in question is entered into; and
(b) a contract entered into after that date by the District Council which relates to the same or a similar description of matter as that to which the contract in question relates.
Section 28(2) provides that any contract entered into by a district council in breach of the Direction will not be enforceable against the new authority. Therefore if the District Council have entered into contracts for similar descriptions as the CIL money will be spent after 31st December 2006, and the total value of that land has exceeded £1m, then any future contracts requires specific consent. It is noted that the total CIL money by Ryedale already exceeds this amount.
Under the general consent that was granted by the Executive on 23rd May 2022, there was no consent granted for this particular transaction as the contracts that were approved were specifically those included in the procurement forward plan attached to the general consent. general consent link
Section 26(6) provides that where a question arises in relation to the value of any consideration, then the value is to be determined by the Secretary of State.
Therefore under the above Rules it is submitted that any decision to spend the circa £3m capital CIL money will require Section 24 consent to enter into the relevant agreements, even if each agreement is less than £1m. This will apply whether the money is given under a contract, loan or grant (albeit the CIL funding will need to have enforceable conditions to enable it to deliver the necessary infrastructure requirements).
To make sure the levy is open and transparent, the District Council must prepare short report on the levy that gives information for the previous financial year. Ryedale’s Infrastructure Funding Statement for 2021 states that:
“The work undertaken to evidence delivery of the allocations (and the Ryedale Plan as a whole) has identified that the key infrastructure requirement would be concerning primary school provision, and that based on housing delivery at Malton and Norton a site would be required to deliver a new primary school in either settlement, depending on where the allocation is made.
“This site for a school has been identified and allocated in the Development Plan as part of a housing allocation in Norton (SD3).
“The value of the land (educational value) will be a payment in kind and so any CIL payment will factor this in. Collated CIL funds will be utilised to help deliver the school.
“At the time of writing this IFS, a planning application for the Norton allocation site, known as Land Adjacent to Norton Lodge, Beverley Road is currently under consideration. It is expected that work with NYCC, the Developer and the LPA will be taking place during the course of the application, to establish the funding framework which will inform any decisions around the timing and allocation of CIL funds. Based on the initial submission information for the scheme, the proposal is set to be CIL liable for roughly £2.3 million, subject to permission being granted and any revisions made to the scheme.”
Therefore the concerns are that the law regarding CIL, is that it must be spent on the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of public infrastructure needed to support development of growth. Currently the District Council has identified what projects would achieve this aim and there is concerns in opening up a new set of applications from the public will give a unrealistic level of expectation that their new projects that have not previously been identified will be funded, when this is not the case.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd expressed confidence that the £3m capital CIL money would be spent on projects within the Ryedale District Council area and gave examples of the kinds of schemes that might benefit. He also drew attention to the financial challenges the new Authority would be facing over the next two years and therefore welcomed Section 24 consent being required.
He also recognised that elected members across the County would have to take some very serious decisions around the wellbeing of local communities going forward. Finally, he referred to the structural change order and noted that sovereignty only existed within the framework of the law, and as such he was confident that the Authority would take the correct decisions in the interests of the people of Ryedale and the wider communities of North Yorkshire.
County Councillor Carl Les confirmed there was review of assets ongoing cross North Yorkshire thanked Mr Clark for his contribution at the meeting.