Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Planning, Regeneration and Transport concerning the Section 106 Agreement for Waverley New Community and the obligations on Harworth Group (land owner) the now proposed Deed of Variation.
It was noted that there was an obligation under the current Section 106 Agreement to provide an education contribution on a phased basis. The first phasing of payments had been triggered in respect of the first primary school which was currently under construction and due to open in September, 2020. However, as reported to Cabinet on the 17th December, 2018, the current and long standing Section 106 trigger points for the second school were too early as the full pupil yield from housing would not be realised at that stage.
This would have an adverse effect on Waverley Junior Academy on the basis that if the second Waverley primary school opened too early, there would be significant surplus capacity across both schools until the pupil yield increased impacting on the Academy’s ability to deliver a balanced budget as required statutorily. As a result of this, it was proposed to change the trigger points for the next phasing of payments to avoid this and revised trigger points proposed:-
· First 5% of the education contribution – any time after occupation of 2,350 (from 1,550) No. dwellings; and
· 45% of the education contribution – any time after occupation of 2,600 (from 1,750) No. dwellings.
In terms of Transport Contributions - Public Transport Infrastructure the existing Section 106 Agreement set out there was £824,000 to spend on Travel Plan measures and at such times that may be approved by the Travel Plan Steering Group. The Steering Group agreed at its 9th July, 2019 meeting to allow a sum of £224,000 to be used from the Travel Plan Funding against the provision of the bus station infrastructure.
Additionally, there was £1.46 million of money remaining in the Section 106 to be used if necessary, over Phases 2-4 (next fifteen years) of the Waverley New Community development for public transport improvements and infrastructure.
It was, therefore, determined via the Travel Plan Steering Group (meeting of 9th July, 2019) that the best option moving forward was to divert the £1.46 million towards the provision of public transport infrastructure, namely the bus station which was planned as part of the new mixed use centre development, with payment to be made upfront. This would ensure maximum benefits for the local community over the thirty year development period. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) have been party to these discussions and raise no objections subject to clarity that buses can reverse out of the bus station without having to negotiate cars entering into the staff car park. To address this point, an amended layout had been submitted which resulted in a minor alteration to the location of the car park entrance, but prevented any bus/car conflicts.
The expenditure of Section 106 monies on these facilities and infrastructure and their ongoing operation and maintenance was wholly in line with the Section 106 aims set out in Schedule 3 of the Agreement which sought to invest in necessary public transport improvements and infrastructure.
Additionally, the Deed of Variation provided for the option of the £1.46 million to be spent on the construction of the bus station and associated infrastructure and their ongoing management by Harworth Group.
There was also a requirement in the original Section 106 Agreement to provide thirty allotments on land to the east of the River Rother. Following further review, the proposed location of allotments on this land was not considered to be a suitable location and would not serve a useful purpose as it was divorced from the residential community and had poor access.
In line with the recent study with Sheffield Hallam University and as part of the wider greenspace strategy for the Waverley site, including the Well Rotherham initiative, Harworth Estates propose to provide raised planters in the centre of the Waverley New Community site which were much more accessible to the local community and could be tended by residents, whilst also ensuring better security through improved natural surveillance. On this basis, the Deed of Variation sought to remove the requirement to provide the allotments.
On balance therefore, the Local Planning Authority considered that the proposed amendments would not negatively impact on the provision of services, but instead contribute towards the ongoing success of the site and provide existing and future residents with supporting facilities that they would expect from a development of this nature.
Resolved:- That the proposed amendments to the Section 106 Agreement which relate to School 2, Public Transport and Allotment provision be noted.