PLANS have been approved which civic chiefs say will make it easier for local groups in the district access funds for infrastructure improvements.

Winchester City Council’s cabinet last week approved the changes which affect Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding for schemes in their areas.

CIL is a tool used by local authorities to help deliver infrastructure to support. It is generated as a planning charge that local authorities can impose on certain developments.

Councillors have now agreed to earmark £1 million of CIL funding between 2019 and 2022, which district councillors, parish councillors and other local groups will be able to apply for funding of between £10,000 and £200,000 for suitable projects that meet the spending guidelines set out by Winchester City Council.

Some £210,000 of CIL money to date has helped fund major improvements at Whiteshute Ridge, St Cross, and the New Road recreation ground in Swanmore.

A further £900,000 has been committed to a range of projects including £50,000 towards the Jubilee Hall car park extension in Bishop’s Waltham, a £250,000 contribution towards a new car park at The Dean in Alresford, and £250,000 to improve drainage in Wickham.

Other schemes being considered for CIL funding include the proposed £38m sports and leisure centre in Bar End, as well as public realm improvements in the city related to the Centre of Winchester Regeneration project, otherwise known as Silver Hill 2.

Portfolio holder for built environment Cllr Caroline Brook said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for groups across the district to submit their projects for consideration.

“We know that there are so many projects in the district that could benefit from this funding and that it will make a real difference to local communities.

“To make this possible, we have changed the process to make it simpler to apply for funding. I look forward to seeing CIL money being allocated to local schemes that will improve the lives of our residents.”