A developer has avoided legal action after paying an outstanding bill just a day before the case was due to be heard in court.

Hertsmere Borough Council were ready to take Essex-based WD Developments and Construction Ltd to court and a date was set at St Albans Magistrates’.

It had reached this stage after the council failed to receive a payment of £24,105.69 which the developer was legally obliged to pay after a three-bedroom home was built on land behind Windmill Lane in Bushey Heath.

As part of the permission being granted, WD Developments was told it would be liable to pay a community infrastructure levy (CIL) fee – money which is then spent by the council towards community facilities and services.

A developer has 60 days to pay the CIL money once work on a site has begun. The council says it did not receive notice of the work starting. An inspection was carried out on site and it was deemed work had begun. A notice for immediate payment was issued in October 2017.

The council says a demand notice, liability notice, and a liability order reminder notice were issued to the developer after the CIL money was not paid. When no response was received, a complaint and summons for payment was sent by the council’s legal team.

Just a day before the court hearing on April 24, the full CIL money fee was paid alongside legal costs of £3,950.

This is the first time Hertsmere Borough Council has taken such steps against a developer over the non-payment of the levy, which was introduced in 2014.

The council’s head of planning, Adrien Waite said: “While we’re delighted that the directors of WD Developments and Construction Ltd decided to pay their contribution, obviously we are disappointed it took the threat of legal action to happen.

“We have effective, working relationships with the majority of developers, but this case proves that we are not afraid to take whatever steps are deemed necessary to ensure that they meet their obligations to the borough’s communities.

“Funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy were recently used to help a wide range of important, local projects including improvements to community facilities and outdoor spaces.

“Unfortunately, this case is not unique. We are in the process of pursuing a number of other developers for non-payment of CIL. If you are a developer and are unclear about CIL and what it will mean for you, then you can find information on our website or speak to our planning team.”

Hertsmere Labour group leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark says he wants to see some of the money spent now rather than held but said it was "important" the funds were recovered.