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CIL Should Be Now Left Alone, Pleads POS

Date: 15/4/2013

In response to the latest consultation on further reforms to the Community Infrastructure Levy the Planning Officers Society has expressed the plea to now leave it alone to allow it to bed in without further ad hoc changes.

POS believes that the Levy was introduced as a simple straightforward approach to levying a charge on development to support the provision of infrastructure. Since its introduction regular Government tinkering has had the dual effects of making it considerably more complicated to understand and administer and reducing the likely resources available for infrastructure provision. The latest set of proposed amendments include some useful changes ( such as extending the time limit for pooling S106 contributions) but also follow on from the 2012 guidance in making the introduction of CIL more onerous and  resource intensive for Charging Authorities and opening up options for the development industry to contest and reduce CIL liability.

Graham Jones, Convenor for the POS CIL & Infrastructure Planning Topic Forum, said "we accept and commend that CIL charges should be set at a reasonable and balanced level which doesn't have a serious adverse impact on viability across the area, but the basic principles of having a non-negotiable standard charge applicable to all development to fund infrastructure are being increasingly compromised."

Malcolm Sharp, POS President, added "whilst there is some useful clarification there is likely to be additional work for hard pressed Charging Authorities in getting CIL in place and in operating the sysyem, for example additional consultation. The proposed Regs will also lead to a further reduction in CIL receipts coming on top of the 'meaningful proportion' and therefore will prejudice the provision of essential infrastructure to enable growth."

POS is admant that we look for a period of stability without further changes once these latest proposals are settled. Sharp sugested "Charging Authorities and infrastructure providers need certainty in order to plan and deliver schemes supporting growth including upfront provison supported by anticipated CIL receipts."

POS has a number of concerns relating to the poroposals, including:

  • Charging Authorities having to demonstrate an appropriate balance has been struck between the provision of infrastructure and the effect on viability across their whole area - Whilst settting out their approach is reasonable it would unfortunate if examinations were diverted to long debate and examination on a site by site basis which would be disproportionate.
  • Having to make the Regulation 123 list available for the Examination - could be helpful as long as it is treated a background advice and not become the subject of examination itself since this needs to remain a living and flexible document able to respond to development as it comes forward and subject to local decision making regarding priorities.
  • Expanding the circumstances for exceptional relief - could be a slippery slope when the principles have been set in the viability testing across a whole area. A modest change to allow relief in exceptional circumstances when there is a 106 in place (even when it is less that e CIL amount) may strike a reasonable balance. Similarly there seems to be no justification for making self build immune from CIL when every property adds to pressure on infrastructure, is likely to be a modest amount compared to the cost of land and construction and could be reasonably discounted of the land value in the first place. This could set a dangerous precedent.

graham_jones2.jpg Graham Jones   malcolm-sharp-pos.jpg Malcolm Sharp

 

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