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Warwickshire and £50k transport contributions – a disconnect worth questioning…

I have the pleasure of doing a reasonable amount of work in the fine shire County of Warwickshire and as such I have the delight of dealing with its Highways Teams. Notwithstanding the usual issues of delays associated with pretty much every authority at the moment, Warwickshire has its own interesting anomaly that is worth warning you about.
 
The key issue emerging in the County is that the Highways DC officer that you may be dealing with is not the person who determines any wider contributions for the S106. This is now undertaken by a team invariably referred to as the ‘infrastructure’ or ‘policy’ team. This group sit behind the coal face and advise DC officers on things like highways safety and signalling/capital schemes.
 
Unfortunately, the first you will hear from these guys on smaller sites is via the main S106 submission with various transport contributions snuck in amongst library and education amounts.
 
It is extremely important that whomever is handling your transport (if you aren’t lucky enough to be using RCA) oversees these contributions in detail. I have spotted errors in these contributions every time I have reviewed them; in one case it was a request for over £130k for a pedestrian crossing that wasn’t required. In another case it was a request for £50k for a signalling scheme that clearly couldn’t be delivered (this was apparently ‘in error’ and was amended to a safety scheme of signing and lining).
 
Applicants have found, to their cost, that erroneous schemes can result in problems if you end up at appeal, particularly when Inspectors agree with officers that there is a problem but identify that the scheme is undeliverable. This aside from the obvious loss of profit if signing up for contributions that aren’t needed.
 
If you have schemes in Warwickshire, then make sure you check over those S106 forms properly and that you are clear that there is a scheme with reasonable prospect of delivery before agreeing.
 
This article was written by Sarah Loynes, Transport Director. If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact her on 01905 887686 or via email sarahloynes@rcaregeneration.co.uk

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