BRAINTREE Council has said it "continues to be successful in using S106 contributions" after being slammed for not using them quickly enough.

Mick Radley, chairman of the performance management scrutiny committee, had previously said the pace of delivery was “far from being acceptable”

It is said Braintree Council has as much as £7.3million in unspent planning development cash currently being held.

In response, a Braintree Council spokesperson, said: “We continue to be successful in using S106 contributions to levy in much needed infrastructure and community facilities from new housing developments and we have always ensured S106 spending secured from developers’ occurs within the timescales agreed within the agreements. Over the past year S106 has been used to contribute towards affordable housing provision for 35 new homes at Victoria Square, a new artificial grass pitch at Halstead Leisure Centre, tree planting in Braintree, and we’re progressing with improvements to Witham and Halstead town centres and the open space at Ramsey Road Recreation Ground in Halstead.

“We make sure we utilise our existing in-house resources in the best way possible to deliver on S106 projects, given the increase in development activity and the number of and complexity of S106 agreements which takes up officer time. We also need to prioritise funding that is coming to a time limit to be spent to ensure the benefit to residents secured under planning permission is not lost.

“It’s important to note that S106 contributions are the responsibility of various authorities to use and spend, such as Essex County Council and the NHS. In such circumstances the district council is simply holding the funds and therefore does not have the responsibility or control over when or how those authorities use or spend it. We ensure we work with all other authorities to ensure drawdowns are at an appropriate point in time and the terms of S106 agreements are adhered to.

“In many cases Parish and Town Councils are also able to spend S106 contributions and deliver the infrastructure improvements themselves. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure S106 processes are understood to support the delivery of schemes and encouraging them to deliver open space projects.

“The number of financial contributions secured through S106 agreements are expected to remain high as developments continue to be built out and new planning permissions implemented. We continually review our processes in order to provide the most efficient and effective service and we remain committed to ensuring any funding secured through S106 is utilised to benefit our communities and is kept at pace with the planned growth of the district.”