CIL Watch #2: DCLG unveils CIL reforms

In the second instalment of CIL watch, Jamie Carpenter rounds up the latest Community Infrastructure Levy-related developments.

CIL consultation finally published…

On Monday, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) finally published its much-anticipated (and possibly delayed*) consultation on proposals to reform CIL. The document sets out some detail – albeit not much – on plans to hand a "meaningful proportion" of CIL funds to neighbourhoods and to allow CIL receipts to be used to fund affordable housing.

Here are some of the most interesting points to arise from the consultation (we’ll have more coverage in next Friday’s print issue):

- The consultation asks many questions but doesn’t provide many answers. For example, it is still unclear what the DCLG means by handing a "meaningful proportion" of CIL funds to neighbourhoods – the document asks for views on what proportion of receipts should be passed to parish or community councils, but gives little clue as to what the department’s thinking is on this.

- The consultation makes clear that CIL receipts will not be handed to new neighbourhood forums and that a cap will be placed on the amount of money that must be passed to a parish or community council each year "to prevent inappropriate amounts being passed on where there is no reason to do so". This, the document says, is to "address the situation that could arise where significant funding is generated from a major development in a sparsely populated area".

- The document asks whether CIL receipts should be used for affordable housing. This proposal has split opinion. Those arguing in favour of this move say that affordable housing is a type of infrastructure and argue that this could be a welcome source of funding for affordable housing at a time when cash is in short supply. Those against the proposal say that it could mean that affordable housing demands could "swamp" other types of infrastructure provision. Lobby group the British Property Federation warned earlier this year that the move could "undermine the ability of authorities to deliver development and will compromise economic growth".

* It’s difficult to know whether or not to accuse the DCLG of having been late with the publication of the consultation. The department had pledged to publish the consultation in the summer and I would question whether October falls into this season. In the department’s defence, I suppose you could say it is still British Summer Time and point to the recent glorious weather.

Meanwhile, and away from Westminster village, councils are continuing to progress with their work to get CIL charges in place.

The Yorkshire Post reports that East Riding of Yorkshire District Council is considering introducing a CIL charge. It says that a report will go to the council’s cabinet next week proposing that the authority introduces CIL.

And next week, Shropshire Council’s cabinet will be asked to endorse the authority’s CIL charging schedule, which was one of the first to be approved by an independent inspector. Should the council’s cabinet endorse the CIL charging schedule, the full council will be asked to adopt the CIL at a meeting on 24 November. The charge is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2012.

Finally, this week has also seen a couple of councils commission firms to advise them on CIL.

Real estate firm Colliers International has been commissioned by Arun District Council to advise it on what facilities might be funded via CIL and what the tariff might be to raise the necessary funds.

The CIL Knowledge Partnership says it has been appointed by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to undertake preparatory works in anticipation of the London mayor and the borough’s own CIL charges.  The CIL Knowledge Partnership are also the Planning Advisory Service’s primary advisors on CIL, supporting all front runners in London, the South East and the South West of England.

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