Community Infrastructure Levy - Government publishes its response to the consultation
06 November 2013
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was introduced on 6 April 2010 and enables local authorities within England and Wales to raise funds from developers undertaking building projects within its area. The funds are used to implement infrastructure to support development within the area. The CIL is a set tariff, subject to public consultation and examination.
In April of this year the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) decided to consult on a number of reforms to the CIL, focusing in particular on how the CIL works in practice and rate setting.
On 25 October 2013 the DCLG published its response to the consultation and announced the following proposed reforms:
- Local planning authorities must strike an appropriate balance between the funding of infrastructure from the levy and the potential effects of the levy on the economic viability of development;
- To allow authorities to set differential rates by reference to the proposed size of development, or the proposed number of units or dwellings;
- The decision to extend the draft charging schedule consultation period will be left to authorities‘ discretion. This maintains authorities’ flexibility to set their own timescales for consultation, based on local factors. The DCLG will address in guidance the circumstances in which authorities may wish to consider a longer period of consultation to be appropriate.
- To make the list that identifies the projects, or types of infrastructure, which a local planning authority intends to fund (or part fund) with CIL funds (the Regulation 123 List) available as evidence during the rate setting process, including at the examination.
- To move the date from which the pooling restrictions on Section 106 apply nationally to April 2015, to allow authorities sufficient time to reflect changes to operation of the levy arising through both this and earlier rounds of reform. On adoption of the levy, or nationally from April 2015, local planning authorities will be restricted in their use of Section 106 planning obligations. A planning obligation (under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) cannot be sought for infrastructure intended to be funded by the CIL, and no more than five obligations can be pooled by the charging authority to provide for the same item of infrastructure.
- Allowing charging local authorities the choice to accept payments in kind through the provision of land or infrastructure, either on-site or off-site, for the whole or part of the CIL.
- Extending the provisions for phasing CIL payments to all types of planning permission, to deal fairly with more complex developments.
- Extending the vacancy test to cover buildings that have been in use for a continuous period of six months in the last three years. Where there is no change of use, they will also be exempt from the levy, other than where there is an increase in floorspace, or where the building has been abandoned.
- To give local planning authorities the discretion to apply social housing relief to discounted market sales in their areas and to provide for relief to be granted for communal areas in proportion to social housing in the development.
- Making it easier to apply exceptional circumstances relief provisions.
- Introducing relief from the CIL for all homes built or commissioned by individuals or groups of individuals for their own use, either by building the home on their own or working with builders, will be entitled to the relief. Community group self-build projects will also qualify for relief. The relief for self-build housing will be reviewed after three years.
- Modifying the appeals procedures and allowing appeals of the chargeable amount in relation to planning permissions in certain cases after development has commenced.
- Comments on appeals will have to be "received" rather than "sent" within 14 days (there will be discretion to extend that period). The review and appeals process will also extend to those obtaining planning permission after development has commenced.
- Introducing transitional measures so that changes to the charge setting process will not apply to local planning authorities that have already published a draft charging schedule.
The Government intends to introduce the reforms in early 2014 and no doubt local authorities and developers alike will be interested to see if the reforms are successful in achieving the DCLG’s aim to improve the operation of the CIL.
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