Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) is to siphon developer contributions to create a new fund aimed at kickstarting the process of its Masterplans.

60 per cent of all CIL money from developers building in Test Valley will be set aside to establish a new Strategic Regeneration Reserve, rising to 80 per cent over the next few years. This will see an estimated £1.1 million put into the reserve to help fund projects and attract other investment.

However, parish councils will be hit by the move, seeing the amount of CIL money from their area that they can bid for slashed from 80 per cent to 50 per cent.

Following the adoption of the Andover and Romsey Masterplans in 2020, work has been underway to start work on making them a reality. In Andover, the Town Mills Riverside Park has been completed, but the rest of the plan is yet to begin.

Recently, TVBC issued a tender for £250,000 for an organisation to “procure detailed capacity and feasibility designs alongside development appraisal, funding and phasing advice”.

Councillors at TVBC’s cabinet on Wednesday, May 27, were asked to establish a new reserve to provide further funding for the project. Under the plans, 60 per cent of all developer CIL money will be directed into the reserve, rising to 80 per cent.

Parish councils will see the amount of money they can bid for on local projects, such as Stockbridge’s Travel to School program, reduced from the present level of 80 per cent of all CIL receipts in their area to 50 per cent. They will, however, still receive a 15 per cent cut of all CIL money from the parish, rising to 25 per cent if they have a neighbourhood plan.

In practice, this will see parish councils receive around £330,000 from CIL funds over the next three years.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, TVBC’s planning portfolio holder, said: “Building a strategic regeneration reserve is important to demonstrate the council’s commitment to the masterplans of both town centres. While the amount of CIL set aside in the reserve will not deliver the entirety of the masterplan areas it will enable to commence improving and enhancing the town centres.

“Without further contributions to the reserve it will be more challenging for the council to lever in further funding, most likely from elsewhere

“At the same time, it’s recognised that local infrastructure projects are important to our communities. While a cap of 50 per cent of the total project cost will be applied, parish councils will still receive 15 per cent, or 25 per cent if they have a neighbourhood plan, of CIL receipts in their parish.”

Cllr Phil North seconded the plans, saying: “Our number one priority is to regenerate our town centres having adopted masterplans in both Andover and Romsey and delivering initial phases. It is important to build up this strategic regeneration reserve so we can lever in further funding and crack on with further phases.”

The proposal subsequently passed without dissent.