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New Developer Contributions for Education Infrastructure agreed

16th August 2017

The Council has agreed to updated developer contributions for the delivery of new schools in the Inverness area.

Taking account of the forecasted phasing of housing sites, school roll forecasts indicate that 13 Primary Schools in Inverness will be under pressure within the next 5 years. Significant additional capacity is required to support future growth including a number of new primary schools to provide sufficient space for educational needs.

In addition, all Inverness secondary schools are forecasted to go over capacity within the next 15 years. Three of the five Inverness secondary schools are already experiencing capacity issues with school rolls in excess of 90%.

Members of the Council's Places Committee have agreed that negotiations on developer contributions within the Inverness associated schools groups' catchment areas will be subject to new build equivalent rates based on a review of recent school developments in Highland and benchmarking with equivalent developer contribution rates used by other Councils in Scotland.

Per-pupil costs translate to £6,983 per-dwelling for primary schools and £3,449 per dwelling for secondary school (excluding land costs). The new rates are proposed for new primary and secondary schools for any new development where there is a clear need for new schools as a result of construction.

Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "We are planning ahead for school capacity, particularly in primary schools, to keep up with development in the city. The Council is undertaking proactive work now to ensure that our future communities can be provided with the facilities required to support a good quality of life and the future education of our children."

Chair of Places Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: "It makes sense to secure fair and proportionate rates of contributions from developers and it is the right thing to do. We just cannot keep expanding housing in Inverness without the necessary supporting infrastructure, including schools."

A review has commenced on the Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance which was adopted in March 2013 and a new draft document is anticipated to be reported to the next Places Committee in November for approval. Alongside this work, a review of the Action Programme for the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (IMFLDP) is providing an up to date picture of the infrastructure requirements to support growth in the IMFLDP area.

This work highlighted that the methodology for calculating developer contributions for education needs to be updated. It has also highlighted that to meet the requirements for new schools to support future growth in Inverness in particular the new-build costs set out in the existing Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance need to be clarified.

Alongside the developer contributions for forecasted school provision, it will be vital to also factor land costs in the final calculation of developer contributions. In all cases developers will be expected to safeguard and make available the land agreed with the Council for school provision.

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