The report outlined the process of securing contributions towards infrastructure
needs in the district through the development management process. It explained the
Community Infrastructure levy (CIL), the process required for its introduction and how
CIL might benefit local communities. The Planning Policy and Property Information
Manager outlined how CIL had the potential to raise significant additional resources
to help fund the infrastructure needed to deliver the growth proposed in the Council’s
adopted development plans. To date the Council had relied on section 106
agreements to contribute towards the cost of infrastructure. However, these did not
apply to small scale developments and as the majority of developments were within
this category, very little income was generated.
CIL was a ‘tariff’ that was applied according to the size and category of development.
It would not replace s106 agreements but operate in parallel with them. There were
some exceptions to CIL, including buildings not visited by the public, affordable
housing and charitable organisations. It would cover market housing, retail,
educational buildings and factories. Local authorities could also choose to exempt
certain developments. Levy rates would be set in consultation with local communities
and the development industry and would apply to most new development over
100sqm in size. The tariff would be applied at the point when planning permission
was granted, with the payment usually being due on commencement of construction.
The Planning Policy and Property Information Manager told the Committee that when
the Council had prepared the core strategy, the infrastructure gaps had been outlined
but not costed. If CIL was to be adopted, potential gaps would need to be checked
and costed up. Available sources of funding could then be identified, totalled up and
then used to justify seeking contributions from developers and setting the tariff. He
stressed that it was important that the levy was not set so high that development
would cease to be viable.
Members discussed the report:
a) A Member said that he had initially been opposed to CIL as he thought it was a
development tax. He thanked the Planning Policy and Property Information
Manager for explaining the levy to him and said that he now felt that it could bring
considerable benefits to the district. He added that he was concerned however
with the recommendation to ‘introduce’ CIL. He felt that further work was needed
before the Committee could agree to its introduction. The Planning Policy and
Property Information Manager suggested that ‘investigates’ was inserted into the
recommendation instead of ‘introduce’. In response to a further question from the
same Member regarding whether CIL would apply to existing planning
permissions, he replied that it would only apply to planning applications made
from the date of adoption.
b) It was suggested that there could be a case for treating brownfield sites and
towns with existing infrastructure in place, differently – possibly with a zero or low
tariff. The Planning Policy and Property Information Manager said that different
charging zones would be introduced and it was possible to vary the tariff within
these zones allowing some flexibility.
c) A concern was raised regarding the amount of CIL that would be diverted to the
County Council. The Planning Policy and Property Information Manager said that
the District Council would be both the charging authority and the collecting
authority and it would be at their discretion how much CIL income was diverted to
the County Council. In addition, the Council would have control over how the
income was spent. The Strategic Director – Community added that if CIL was
introduced by the Council, they would be in a strong position in terms of
commissioning local infrastructure. The Council could opt to give parish and town
councils funds to spend on play areas and community centres.
d) A Member pointed out that the report referred to the District Council being the
charging authority ‘in most cases’. She asked for further clarification on this. The
Planning Policy and Property Information Manager said that the Council could
also allow the County Council to act as a charging authority on their behalf but it
must be agreed with them first.
e) A concern was raised regarding the exemption of buildings not open to the public.
A Member felt that large scale projects such as wind farms and quarries required
infrastructure and should be subject to CIL. The Planning Policy and Property
Information Manager said that it was not possible to charge a levy on such
projects as it was payable per square metre. However, payments could still be
negotiated under a section 106 agreement.
f) A Member asked how s106 agreements would fit into the proposed charging
zones. The Planning Policy and Property Information Manager replied that the
Council would need to decide which type of development would stay within the
s106 process and which would fall within the confines of CIL and how both
categories would apply within the charging zones. He emphasised that it was not
possible to double-charge for the same development. The Strategic Director –
Communities added that there was concern over this issue as CIL would be given
priority over any other charge. This could have implications for affordable housing
and might mitigate against the negotiation of affordable housing provision within
market developments. As a result of such concerns, the government was
considering how to cover affordable housing within CIL.
To recommend to Cabinet that the Council investigates CIL and that the Planning
Policy and Built Heritage Working Party progresses the detailed work in relation to
infrastructure planning, viability testing, and preparation of a Draft Charging Schedule