What is a Local Infrastructure Fund?

    Tower Hamlets has experienced significant development including new housing in recent years and more growth is expected in the future. The Council recognises that this can put pressure on local services and infrastructure. Therefore in order to deal with the impacts developers are required to pay a levy, called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which the Council uses to pay for new and improved infrastructure. 

    The CIL legislation also enables the Council to allocate between 15% and 25% (depending on circumstances) of the CIL receipts to the Neighbourhood Portion, which is to be spent on local infrastructure priorities agreed with the local communities where development is taking place. In Tower Hamlets, we want to give local people a greater say in priorities and proposals for spending on local infrastructure improvements, therefore Mayor has decided that in all circumstances the entire borough will be allocated 25% of the CIL money as the Neighbourhood Portion. 

    In Tower Hamlets, we have decided to call the Neighbourhood Portion the Local Infrastructure Fund (LIF), and we are undertaking this consultation in order to give local people greater involvement in improving their local areas. The focus of LIF as a whole is to enhance delivery of local infrastructure provision in your local areas and address the demands that development places on an area.

    What is infrastructure?

    Infrastructure in general refers to a broad range of services or facilities which are necessary for the day-to-day functions of the community and economy such as roads, railways, and social and community facilities.  This could include things like, parks and open spaces (green spaces); leisure and sports facilities, health facilities, schools, public realm, transport and connections/routes i.e footpaths and cycle paths, bridges. The Council is already planning for the delivery of this type of infrastructure to meet wider borough needs. However, this consultation is more concerned with issues that are more localised and within the vicinity of your area.

    What can LIF grants be spent on?

    The purposes for which the Council can spend LIF on are prescribed by the Government in the CIL legislation. LIF can be used to:

    Provide or improve infrastructure, to pay for the operation or maintenance of infrastructure to support the additional burden new development makes on local infrastructure.

    OR, on anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on an area.

    This means that any priorities or local infrastructure improvements you suggest must fit within this definition in order for us to be legally allowed to fund them with LIF money.

    However, this broad definition also provides additional freedom in the use of LIF. In addition to infrastructure it can be applied to initiatives where it can be demonstrated that in doing so, ‘addresses the demands which growth places on a neighbourhood’. Ideas for this can be things like:

    • Planting and landscaping around developments e.g. providing replacement trees where there has been a loss of or impact on trees in and around a  development;
    • Provision and replacement of indigenous species to address deficiencies made more severe by new development.
    • Additional community events / a programme of cultural activities in town centres experiencing significant growth, in order to promote social cohesion between ‘new’ and existing residents; 
    • Additional initiatives to improve town centre amenity for example, improved lighting, signage; or public realm; 
    • Initiatives to create and promote healthy environments in areas of high density or cycling and walking trails in existing parklands.
    • Opportunities for public access and use of water spaces for cultural, recreational and leisure activities and other water related uses.

    How is my local area defined in the consultation?

    Four boundary areas were approved by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2016 for the purposes of consulting on LIF. The LIF boundaries are defined as LIF areas 1 - 4 and take into account a range of factors, including the geographic spread of development in the borough and designated Neighbourhood Forum boundaries. They are considered to be of a scale and arrangement that is appropriate when considering planned development and subsequent infrastructure needs. Please see Appendix 1 of the ‘LIF 2019-20 You Said Report’.

    How do I know what is already planned for my area?

    The Council produces a document called the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) which identifies infrastructure projects required to meet the need for and provision of infrastructure to address the need created by new development. The IDP is the Council’s evidence base for the need to deliver infrastructure and relies on information on changing housing and population growth patterns, council wide strategies, existing and new studies from across the Council and policy documents by service providers.

    The Council reviews this evidence annually, and engages with service providers to obtain any updated or additional evidence regarding why infrastructure is needed. This is done through the analysis of the demand for and supply of infrastructure; what projects are needed – through identifying defined infrastructure projects in service plans or strategies; where it is needed – through the site selection process; how it will be delivered and when in relation to the Local Plan time frames of 2016-2030.

    For more information on the known and expected infrastructure costs to deliver the infrastructure to support development, this is found in the infrastructure specific chapters of the IDP which can be found on our Planning website Infrastructure Delivery Plan

    What if our area has a Neighbourhood Forum or Plan?

    The Council will work together with the local residents  in the Neighbourhood Forums to consider if and how the LIF monies can be used to deliver the infrastructure identified in the Neighbourhood Plan (where applicable) as required to address the demands   development has placed on the area. Neighbourhood Forum members should also respond to the LIF consultation and are encouraged to attend the LIF drop-in sessions.  The responses from the consultation will be used to support any discussions on delivering the objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan.

    How do I respond to the Consultation?

    The LIF 2020 consultation takes place this year over 6 weeks starting Monday 9th November 2020 and ending on Friday 18th December 2020. 

    In this consultation you are being asked to suggest project ideas for local infrastructure improvements which address the demands that new development place in your area. 

    Please note we are only requesting new project ideas and that if you have already suggested an idea before in the 2019 consultation to not re-nominate the same idea again. This is because we will continue to review past project ideas further as appropriate and for this year’s LIF income (collected in 2020/2021).

    It is possible to take part in several ways, by completing the online survey or attending one of our online drop-in sessions.  If you would like further assistance, please email infrastructure.planning@towerhamlets.gov.uk or call 0207 364 5009.

    What will happen to my responses?

    Your responses will be collated to form a report of proposed priorities and projects that will assist in guiding the council towards the types of infrastructure and general improvements local people want to see in their areas.

    The project suggestions received will be assessed against criteria, and will feed into the Council’s evidence to help inform decision making by the Mayor regarding which projects to deliver using LIF funding. Where projects are considered further, they will be developed engaging with local people on a case by case basis as is appropriate. 

    It is likely that not all suggested projects will receive LIF funding. Should funding suggestions for projects exceed the amount of funding available, the Council will need to make decisions regarding which projects to support, to what extent and when. LIF will not be able to pay for all infrastructure. 

    LIF may pay for some projects entirely, some in part and others not at all, depending on the availability of other funding and the prioritisation of delivery.