District councils are sitting on millions of pounds of community cash handed over by developers during planning talks – a move which has been branded “an absolute disgrace”.

Figures unearthed through a freedom of information request show district councils in south Bucks have failed to spend at least £9.5 million of money received from developers after 2013.

Section 106 agreements are negotiated between councils and developers, with funding earmarked for social and community projects, including affordable housing.

The figures show Wycombe District Council (WDC) currently has a balance of £3.5 million of unspent S106 cash that is yet to be allocated to a specific project.

South Bucks District Council still has £4.4 million of funding received since 2013, while £105,987 remains unallocated.

And none of Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) £1.6 million pot of S106 funding has been set aside for a building scheme.

Labour councillor for Disraeli on WDC, Khalil Ahmed, has branded the revelation “disgraceful” and called for the “desperately needed” money to be ploughed into the community.

He said: “The public needs to know why action to spend this money has not been forthcoming

“Four years ago, a survey revealed that there was over £1.5 billion worth of unspent S106 money in the UK, with nearly £10 million returned to developers because it was never spent on agreed projects.

“It is unacceptable that the council’s cabinet for housing and the leader of the council have not allocated this desperately needed money.

“Wycombe District Council has the potential to improve lives in the communities that councillors have been elected to represent.”

Liberal democrat councillor for Ballinger, South Heath and Chartridge on CDC, Peter Jones, raised concerns some developers are attempting to “wriggle out” of paying s106 contributions by stating it would make their building scheme financially “unviable.”

He said: “It’s only a few years ago that there were no new affordable houses built in the Chiltern area.

“The council is trying to do better, for which it deserves some credit. The council should use the S106 money where that can make the difference between a new development being built, or not.

“What is more disturbing is that many developers are seeking to wriggle out of paying a contribution to affordable housing by claiming their schemes are ‘unviable’.

“So we have lots of new million-pound-plus houses, very little for young local people.”

However WDC’s cabinet member for housing, Julia Langley, said the authority has been working with housing providers on plans to spend a “significant proportion” of the council’s unspent S106 cash.

She said: “Having spent £1 million on affordable housing last year, I am delighted to announce that we have been working with registered housing providers on plans to spend a significant proportion of the remaining £3.1million of S106 money on even more affordable housing for the Wycombe district.

“All of this affordable housing is in addition to what our planning policies already require developers to provide as part of any new housing scheme. I look forward to taking a report to cabinet later this year to discuss these exciting plans.”

A joint statement from Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils said: 

"Since 2011, the Councils have used Section 106 contributions to fund the delivery of over 100 additional affordable homes across the two districts.

“The councils have plans in place to spend the remaining Section 106 monies on delivering more much-needed affordable housing in the area; the vast majority of SBDC funding has already been allocated to projects which are currently being developed including a scheme to provide new, innovative modular housing which will provide some much needed temporary accommodation for people presenting as homeless. The small amount of money that remains unallocated will be put towards future projects.

“We have allocated the remaining funds at CDC to support the delivery of affordable housing on site. Having this substantial amount of S106 money assists us to deliver as many affordable homes as possible.

“It is important that we use the S106 money in the most effective way and that we continue to invest the money in projects that will return the most affordable housing which will be for the benefit of our communities.”