Developers “lost” £90,000 when they were “penalised” for not filling out paperwork correctly.

That is according to Cllr Jeff Brooks, who called for independent investigators to review West Berkshire Council’s handling of Community Infrastructure Levy payments.

CIL is a charge councils impose on developers when they grant planning permission for major projects. The money is spent on improving local infrastructure.

“I am so aghast that this council has taken money because forms were not filled out correctly and it is not a small amount of money,” he told a council meeting on March 25.

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The Liberal Democrat councillor claims the developers were overcharged because they submitted incorrect assessments, even though the mistakes were “corrected rapidly”.

According to Cllr Brooks, one developer lost £65,000 and another lost £25,000.

But the Conservatives who run the council deny any wrongdoing and refused to call in independent investigators.

They say both of those cases have been reviewed by the Local Government Ombudsman and the council’s CIL team have been audited twice – but no issues have been identified.

Cllr Hilary Cole (Conservative) said it would cost the council £20,000 to hire independent investigators to review CIL collections and that is “an unnecessary cost”.

She said: “Both of the applicants had appointed agents who submitted the CIL forms on their behalf.

“The error clearly lies with the applicants’ agents, who were, along with the applicants, given several opportunities to get things corrected.”

She added: “All of the paperwork sent to applicants clearly states it is the responsibility of the applicant to submit the correct information in the correct manner.

“Our website also has comprehensive and clear guidance on CIL submissions.”

Cllr Graham Bridgeman said both cases have already “been investigated at length” and it is clear the council’s CIL team “are not blindly charging applicants for the sake of it”.

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The council has taken CIL payments for 2,374 developments carried out in West Berkshire since 2015, but there has been less than 50 appeals and 25 complaints.

Just eight of those complaints have been upheld following independent investigations.