Jan 14

January 2013

Changes to the community infrastructure levy (CIL) which come into force last week end councils charging developers twice when they amend an existing planning application, but the British Property Federation has warned further action is needed if CIL isn’t going to frustrate development across the country.

The changes to the treatment of planning applications made under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 puts an end to councils charging developers twice when making even relatively minor changes to an existing planning consent.

However, concerns remain within the property industry with regards to CIL charges that are already in place, and many others that are not far behind, that s106 agreements are not being scaled back and replaced by CIL as originally intended, but instead viewed as an additional tax on development, so called ‘double-dipping’.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: “We’re delighted officials have listened to concerns and amended regulation so developers who make changes to an application will not be charged twice on the same site.

“However, there are still many issues within the CIL regime that are detering development, and we urge the Government to make the further changes needed as soon as possible. Both money and time are in short supply for local authorities to prepare their charging schedules. If changes are to be made that will affect this process, it is only fair that they are implemented as soon as possible so as to prevent wasted effort by all.”

The CIL was established by the previous Government as a way of channelling some of the profits deriving from development into the funding of much needed infrastructure. The Government’s intention was to have a system based around a fixed levy that would spread the burden of infrastructure across all developments, large and small, and that was therefore fairer, faster and more certain and transparent than the traditional route of planning obligations – known as Section 106. The development industry’s original support for this concept was entirely conditional on the levy largely replacing Section 106 planning obligations agreements, so that the net burden on large developments was not significantly increased, and also on there being a flexible and practical approach to applying the levy