Economy and Infrastructure

11.04.19

Councils to press housing developers to pay for new schools under DfE guidance

The government has published new guidance for councils to encourage housing developers to fund the new schools created by their developments.

The Department for Education has published the new advice setting out how local authorities can best secure funding from housing developers for new schools and school expansions.

Developers already contribute to the cost of new infrastructure such as schools, but ministers said there is a lack of clarity with council requirements around the country varying widely.

The new guidance is designed to embolden councils to insist the developers foot the bill for both the construction and for the required land, although developers can alternatively build the schools themselves rather than contribute.

Schools minister Lord Agnew said: “It isn’t enough for developers simply to build houses; we need to build communities. Schools are at the centre of any community, and that’s why it’s vital that developers contribute to the cost of the school places they create.”

The government is already undergoing a “huge” expansion in school places, with one million new places on track to be created this decade, and the secondary school population set to swell to 3.3 million.

But Agnew said schools can still find themselves “under pressure from housing developments,” and where this happens “it’s right that where appropriate developers support these costs.”

Luke Tryl, the New Schools network director, welcomed the “clarity” this guidance provides local authorities, and said he hopes it will minimise the amount schools planned as part of housing developments spend before they open.

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