Brent Council is considering on Monday a report on spending planning gain monies, which amount to £3.8 million in this financial year. This is the funding that property developers pay the Planning Authority to offset the social impact of development. Brent takes a very centralised approach to this, in contrast to other Boroughs that spread decision making to all the Councillors in the Council. I am not sure that having the Cabinet nod through officers' recommendations in this way really provides the best democratic scrutiny or secures the most effective outcomes.
If you read the detail of the report there are some quite major decisions being taken. For instance, the report states that the entire education reserve has been spent. How much scrutiny did that get? I am not saying that that was necessarily a bad decision given the needs of Brent, but it should surely be made in a more transparent way. All of these themes" will have multiple projects that are being accepted or rejected. Effectively, who is really making the decision in each case and why? Again, the report states that Wembley gets the lion's share and Church End the least. I suspect there are good reasons for that, but should they be a bit more obviously in the public domain?