Lewisham Council has approved its new neighbourhood community infrastructure levy scheme – which will see money raised from developers spent on projects chosen by ward assemblies.

The authority has raised £1,440,463.66, £4,487,774.86 and £3,359,091.04 each year between 2015 and 2018, and has been able to spend 15 per cent of it in the ward it was collected.

The approved plans will see this increase to 25 per cent – half of which will stay in the ward, a quarter will be allocated to areas of deprivation and a quarter will go towards a borough-wide fund.

Mayor Damien Egan said: “Neighbourhood CIL (community infrastructure levy) is a charge that a local authority can levy on new developments. It’s very similar to, but of course it’s more flexible for us, than the section 106.

“The new strategy gives us opportunity to take money into the local community and make the community at the helm and at the forefront of decision making.

“Lewisham is the first local authority in the country to be devolving a CIL to local communities in this way…and including a level of deprivation in distributing the funding.”

He said the new scheme would see deprived areas, particularly wards in the south, which had very low levels of development, ge a portion of the money raised from developers.

To choose the projects, local assemblies and councillors will set priority themes for their ward.

The council will then make an open call for projects over either a one, two or four year basis, which council officers will then filter into a long list.

The ideas must meet the CIL Regulations ‘to support the development’ of an area through improving infrastructure, offer value for money, benefit the community, address a local priority, and meet the demands in the area.

That list will go to a vote at a ward assembly and the ideas will be prioritised by the council's director of planning.

The ward funds will then be allocated by the council and the borough wide projects will be allocated by the mayor and cabinet.

The council is looking in to how best it can market this to residents, with officers investigating the use of an online platform, council documents explain.