Gravityscan Badge CIL – A year on from Localism Agenda — Alrewas Neighbourhood Plan

CIL – A year on from Localism Agenda

CIL – A year on | Localism Agenda.

A year ago Localism Agenda discussed what the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) might mean for local communities, at the time relatively little was known about practical aspects of the levy such as how much the levy would actually cost or how the money would be spent and by whom.

In the last twelve months there have been regular new initiatives from Westminster designed to ‘get Britain building’ and anyone could be forgiven for forgetting about a levy not many people knew much about.  This all changed in the beginning of 2013 when Planning Minister Nick Boles MP brought the levy back into the public’s mind by suggesting that up to 25% of money raised through CIL should be given to community bodies such as parish or town councils.

The thinking behind such a high percentage is that local opposition to new developments may be muted or even reversed if communities could directly benefit from the new developments in their area.

If this does become the case, it will likely make little impact in the foreseeable future as take up of the levy is still relatively low with less than half of councils expected to implement their own CIL by the end of 2013.

In some authorities, community bodies may not have a choice as to where the money is spent: the Greater London Authority (GLA) has already earmarked future funds raised through the levy to help fund the new Crossrail project.

This is probably a much larger project than was potentially imagined by Mr Boles who has suggested any money could be spent on taking over a community pub or repairing the roof of the community centre.

It may also seem that the levy is being used to encourage development in certain parts of boroughs, with different prices being imposed on development in certain areas.  For instance Shropshire council charging 100% more to build outside of ‘key centres and market towns’ (£80 pms compared to £40pms) and the GLA charging just 40% to build in the outskirts of London than in Zone One (£20 compared to £50).

Whatever the cost, housing companies are already warning extra taxation on the industry will not increase the number of new homes.  However if Nick Boles is right and the level of opposition to new developments is reduced then lengthy and expensive appeals may be avoided , reducing costs and quickening applications.

But, much like the introduction of the NPPF in March 2012, it will take time to access the full impact of the new levy and whether it helps or hinders Britain’s housing industry.

We’ll know even more in another 12 months.

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