Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The future of the Community Infrastructure Levy

You are no doubt aware by now that the government has decided to retain CIL, but to amend some of the details. As a ‘stakeholder’, I have been privileged to receive a communication from DCLG drawing my attention to the recently amended notes on the CIL regime. I don’t flatter myself that anyone in “De-CLoG” (as I gather it is called by insiders) actually reads this blog or would take any notice of it if they did, so I assume this arises from my being registered as a professional user of the Planning Portal, and that other portal users got the same note.

The note acknowledges that the proposed changes will require primary legislation amending the provisions of the 2008 Act. This will be included in the ‘Localism Bill’, when it finally appears. This all-embracing bill seems likely to be of massive proportions – possibly even larger than the Secretary of State himself.

Until we see the Bill, it is still not entirely clear how the proposed changes will work. The note does not give any details as to the precise nature of the proposed changes to CIL. As provided in the 2008 Act, when CIL is fully in force there will be restrictions of the use of planning obligations under Section 106. Amended restrictions will take effect from April 2014, or earlier where a charging authority starts to charge the levy. Perhaps the most important point (already incorporated in the 2008 legislation and in the regulations) is that it will no longer be possible to demand developer contributions to fund infrastructure on a tariff basis through the medium of a Section 106 agreement. The intention is that CIL will be used in future as the mechanism for pooling contributions from a variety of new developments to fund infrastructure.

Planning obligations under Section 106 will continue to have a role, for example as the medium by which the provision of affordable housing will be secured, and for restricting the use or development of land where this would be a more effective method than a condition attached to a planning permission.

I confess that I did not find the new ‘overview’ of CIL particularly enlightening. (Admittedly I had been hoping that CIL would just go away.) Hopefully we shall all get to grips with it once practical implementation is under way, and when we know how the new Bill modifies the rules.


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