NICL

NCILConsultation meeting to improve South Harrow this month gave rise to concerns how well the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) funds have been used as councillors assertively floated the idea of spending £20k to £30k each on three murals.
An attendee later said that the meeting felt like consultation on a pre-determined outcome –  little was known about NCIL!
The meeting involved councillors, police, residents, community groups and traders.
There appeared uncertainty whether like other councils, for example Brent, can Harrow community groups apply for the funds for the projects they consider more important, for instance those specific to  street furniture, upgrading of park facilities etc?
In helpfully responding to the Harrow Monitoring Group enquiry, David Corby, head of community engagement service, said: “We always welcome projects that will have a wider benefit to the local community.
The Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) offers an opportunity for the council to engage with local communities to help fund small projects to support the local area – such as CCTV, gates for alleyways and improving Town Centres “.
He said the community engagement team engage with local groups to agree on how best to spend NCIL funding through consultation and engagement process such as community champions and park user groups.
Applications can be submitted to the Council’s Community Engagement team at community.engagement@harrow.gov.uk  but the information about NCIL funds or the process for the community groups to apply for the projects are not really publicised. 
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a levy on new developments to ensure that costs incurred in supporting the local area is funded by owners or developers of land.
Under the CIL Regulations 15% of CIL funds must be spent on projects that take account of the views of the communities in which development has taken place. But the downside is that the ‘view-seeking’ could be subjective, driving towards a pre-determined outcome.
CIL  Income and Expenditure  generally:
The amount of unapplied CIL brought forward from the previous year(s) to 2018-19 was £5,562,410 (comprising £3,926,240 borough CIL and £1,636,170 neighbourhood CIL).
A total of £14.5m of Harrow CIL has been received since 2013/14. Taking into account the 51 College Road infrastructure agreement, this increases to £17.8m.
Total expenditure or agreed allocation of borough CIL on infrastructure projects is £10.4m, or circa 89.5% of borough CIL receipts (£11.6m). Including the 51 College Road infrastructure agreement / new central library, this increases to £13.7m or 91.7%of total borough CIL receipts (£14.9m).
This expenditure is mostly on public realm improvements and parks / open space, and some capital programme.
Total expenditure or agreed allocation of neighbourhood CIL on infrastructure projects is £381,227, or 17.5% of total neighbourhood CIL receipts (£2.2m), mostly on public realm improvements or developing certain areas like Squares.
Harrow could do more to develop well publicised process for inviting community groups to apply for the projects under NCIL – Brent is a good example.