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Community Infrastructure Levy – the saga continues

22nd November, 2010

Since the necessary regulations were brought into force by the previous government in April 2010 there has been very little apparent activity at all from local authorities seeking to be the first to put in place a charging schedule setting a tariff as part of a new community infrastructure levy.

The regulations propose quite a lengthy and time consuming process through which the proposed charging schedule needs to pass before it can be relied upon by the local authority in its planning decisions. Given the impending election at the time of the regulations being brought into force and the subsequent uncertainty since that election on local government resources and whether CIL would survive at all, its not surprising that there hasn’t been a wholesale take up of the process by local planning authorities.

On the 18th November 2010 Decentralisation Minister, Greg Clark has put an end to that uncertainty.

He has confirmed that CIL will continue as it is seen as a “fairer system” to fund new infrastructure. However, whilst the basic system will remain he has identified that there will be some changes to bring the CIL more in line with the governments “localism” agenda.

It is intended to reform the system to ensure that a meaningful proportion of any contributions raised by a council from developers is provided back to the neighbourhood where the development takes place. The new guidance “The Community and Infrastructure Levy, An Overview (Nov 2010)” goes on to advise that local authorities will need to work closely with neighbourhoods to decide what infrastructure they require.

The guidance further identifies that the Localism Bill will be used to limit how much control independent examiners will have on the content of any charging schedule produced by a local council – a significant change from the previous proposals- with the intention that their input will be primarily confined to making sure any charges set are not “unreasonable”. There will also be changes to allow local authorities to control when payments are to be made and to enable payments “in-kind” in respect of all CIL liabilities not just those over £50,000.

In practical terms, it will take some time for local authorities to digest these changes and to start, and then complete, work on a new charging schedule. For those acquiring interests in or buying land for future development there is now continued uncertainty that may have to be covered off in any land transactions to take account of what future CIL liabilities may be.

For further information please speak to David Kerfoot on 01244 405538 or email him here.

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