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Council confirms local projects first up to benefit from £6m fund

9 December 2020

Southwark Council has approved funding for 37 community projects put forward by local people and organisations as part of a £6m investment drive back into the borough, with a second group of projects to follow in the New Year.

The council has raised roughly £23m in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) since 2015. Up to 25 percent of this – almost £6m – is available as local CIL to be spent on community projects completed by 31 December 2023.

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a levy raised on development schemes (new buildings such as housing, hotels or shops) and the money is used by the council to fund local infrastructure projects. It’s just one of the ways in which developments and developers can give back to the community – especially to those who've been impacted by the building works (such as neighbours who had to put up with noise or temporary road closures).

In March, the council launched a map-based website which offered a novel opportunity for the local community to share ideas about how to use money raised from the levy.

Residents put forward more than 1,000 suggestions for projects across all 23 wards.

Projects were shortlisted and split into two groups to be presented to the council’s cabinet for approval according to their ward, with the second being submitted in January 2021.

Decisions on what ideas to fund involved looking at the costs and the benefits of the projects for the ward as a whole, and whether they align with local priorities (or themes). For wards that have one, this included the commitments of the local Social Regeneration Charter.

A common theme across the wards was to create a healthier, greener environment for Southwark’s residents. The council approved funding for a number of projects supporting this aim, including plans to improve public space along the Low Line at Druid Street to promote greener surroundings and make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

Greenland Dock, one of oldest of London's riverside wet docks in Rotherhithe, has been awarded levy funding for a new wildlife island and reedbeds for wild birds, along with replacement nesting platforms and landscaping work which will make it a better place to watch and learn about the birds’ habitats.

Popular parks in the borough will also benefit from local CIL money.

Residents can look forward to a bigger, more accessible Leathermarket Gardens, with plans to extend the park adjacent to the Tyers estate and to provide easier access to the sports pitch and village hall.

Money raised from the levy will be used for the refurbishment and upkeep of community facilities at Peckham Rye Park, including the children’s playground and skate park.

The Marlborough Sports Garden in Bankside, which aims to foster a love of sport in local primary school children to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle obesity, will also receive funding to complete the third phase of their project with additional sports facilities and changing rooms.

Cllr Alice Macdonald, cabinet member for communities and equalities, said: “We were delighted by the incredible response from the local community about how to spend local CIL money. The projects awarded funding are set to bring wide-ranging benefits to our residents, not least to their health and wellbeing through the fantastic number of projects that will enhance and increase our borough’s green spaces.

“We were also thrilled to learn that one of the first recipients of local CIL, Surrey Docks Farm, won the Mayor’s prize in the New London Awards 2020, which recognises the very best in architecture, planning and development in the capital. The farm used money raised from the levy on a local housing development to refurbish their Tower Building after an arson attack 12 years ago put its community space out of action.

“We look forward to this latest round of local CIL recipients following in the farm’s footsteps to make Southwark an even better place to live, work and visit.”

If project supporters from the first round of wards submitted for council approval are not contacted by their local CIL officer, their project is not being taken forward at this time.

Future rounds of local CIL funding and other council grants are open to all residents and community groups regardless of previous submissions.  

Visit www.southwark.gov.uk/cil for more information

Page last updated: 19 January 2021