Hackney Town Hall.

Hackney Council has set up a new fund for arts and culture in the borough, to be paid into by fees paid by developers through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

The fund will start off containing just over £3.5m of already-accumulated CIL money, which has been building up since the levy began to be charged in Hackney in April 2015.

Voluntary and not-for-profit organisations will be able to receive grants every six months from the fund on satisfaction of a variety of conditions, with the council to look favourably on projects including those which mitigate the impact of development, have a focus on social value, and reflect the priorities of the Town Hall’s strategies and the manifesto on which the Mayor was elected.

Cllr Guy Nicholson (Lab, Homerton), cabinet member for culture, planning and the inclusive economy, said: “Whilst developers are welcome to invest into our borough and become part of Hackney’s growing economy, it’s vital that everyone who lives and works in the borough can also benefit from this growth and our changing borough.

“[The council will] deploy the not insubstantial sum of money brought about from new development in the borough to be spent across the culture portfolio, investing directly into our wider community, the activities that bring it together, and help create understanding and tolerance.

“How this will look and be managed and the opportunities which people across the borough will be able to have to make applications for some of that investment will be worked out in the months ahead.”

The Town Hall has garnered £24m through the CIL since 2015, with 15 per cent of it required to be spent in accordance with the wishes of the local community or neighbourhood in which the development from the which the monies were received took place.

However, with the council finding that 80 per cent of CIL money so far coming from receipts brought forward from developments in Hoxton, Shoreditch and Haggerston, the new CIL fund will be able to be bid for projects borough-wide, with funding also set to go to events such as Hackney Carnival or Discover Young Hackney.

The redevelopment of Woodberry Down estate currently has a zero-CIL agreement, with new projects in Hackney Wick being constructed within the purview of the London Legacy Development Corporation rather than Hackney Council.

The rest of the CIL funds have gone to fund major infrastructure projects in the borough over the past four years, with £17m spent on projects including the new facilities at Hackney Marshes, improvements to the Narrow Way in Hackney Central, a new adult day centre, and the development of the new Britannia Leisure Centre site.

The council have also agreed, as per new legislation, to develop a new Annual Infrastructure Funding Statement, which will set out what infrastructure projects the council intends to fund through CIL, with details of receipts and spend for the previous financial year.

Cllr Nicholson added: “The Council is already using the planning levy placed on developers to fund amazing events like Hackney Carnival, but now is the time to invest more of this money on local arts and cultural initiatives that bring us all together.

“This investment into the arts and cultural sector will enable Hackney’s extraordinary creative community to work with residents and create great activities and experiences which bring us together and celebrate all that is good about Hackney.”

Further details will be set out later this year.

For more information on how CIL money has been spent so far, click here.

For more information on the council’s regeneration projects, click here.

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