Comment: Are 106 agreements worth the paper they are written on?

Longford Park Community Centre remains closed NNL-190502-134928001
Longford Park Community Centre remains closed NNL-190502-134928001

This week I spoke to residents of Longford Park about their growing frustration at the continued closure of the community centre – despite it being structurally complete.

The construction of a community centre was part of the Section 106 agreement which allows a council to place caveats into planning applications for certain conditions to be met to allow the planning application to go through.

Longford Park Community Centre remains closed. Kal Mann and Antonio Ferrara of the LPCA look on NNL-190502-134749001

Longford Park Community Centre remains closed. Kal Mann and Antonio Ferrara of the LPCA look on NNL-190502-134749001

In the case of Longford Park a community hall, a healthcare facility and shops were included in the plans.

The community centre has been built but both the health centre and row of shops are nonexistent. The only thing that hints as to their inclusion are the two bare plots of land they were supposed to occupy.

The land for the shops has pre-approved planning for retail use but, with not even a shop carcass built on the site it essentially excludes all independent retailers as it will require large amounts of cash to construct a suitable building.

While section 106 agreements are, on paper, supposed to enhance new communities if they are not enforced they are worthless and communities are left with broken promises. Antonio Ferrara, Longford Park Committee Association vice chair, said: “This was not how it was sold to us.”

To read more on the Longford Park development read - The broken promises of Longford Park