CIL Watch #7: Boroughs fire warning over Crossrail CIL

If all you want for Christmas is an update on the latest CIL charging schedules to be published, then you are in the right place. News of boroughs' concerns over the London mayor's proposed Community Infrastructure Levy charges, new draft charging schedules and the latest contract wins feature in our festive CIL Watch update - the final update of 2011.

Boroughs fire warning over Crossrail CIL…

Earlier this month, a public examination of London mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to raise £300 million towards the cost of Crossrail through a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) closed. At the public examination, boroughs warned that the mayor’s proposed levy could stymie regeneration schemes in parts of the capital and hit developer contributions for affordable housing. Johnson wants to raise £300 million towards the cost of Crossrail by requiring councils to set a charge on new development in their areas. He has set out proposed charges for the levy, splitting boroughs into three groups.

But at the public examination into the proposed levy representatives from London boroughs warned that it could hit developer contributions for affordable housing. They say that, as the mayor’s levy is the first call on developer contributions, boroughs could struggle to raise enough cash through their own CIL charges and section 106 (S106) planning deals to make schemes in their areas viable. S106 contributions for affordable housing could be squeezed as a result, boroughs warn.

At the examination, north London councils opposed the mayor’s plans to impose a flat CIL charge on each borough, saying that some boroughs, such as Haringey, have large variations in residential values. Stephen Knight, deputy director of sub-regional partnership the North London Strategic Alliance, said: "There’s a huge difference between Highgate and Tottenham. A charge of £35 per square metre is a heck of a lot of money somewhere like Tottenham."

Faraz Baber, executive director for policy at business group London First, said: "London First supports Crossrail and the funding package. But the approach that has been adopted could dissuade development from coming forward in some parts of London."

The examiner is expected to report at the beginning of 2012.

Government mulls changes to levy rules…

Today’s issue of Planning reveals that the government is considering calls for the regulations governing CIL to be amended to ensure that developers do not face unanticipated liabilities should they seek to change the conditions of their planning permissions. This follows lobbying by the London mayor’s office, business group London First and lobby groups the British Property Federation and Home Builders Federation, who are concerned about the implications of the current CIL regulations for developers seeking to use section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to amend schemes that already have permission.

More charging schedules published…

Torbay District Council has published a preliminary draft charging schedule setting out its emerging CIL plans. The council has divided its levy into three zones – town centres, out of town centres and out of built-up areas. Charges for town centre development will be levied at a nil rate, except for housing, in an attempt to direct commercial and retail development to the town centres of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. Charges for residential development for all three zones will be £100 per square metre.

In the two non-town centre zones, food and drink development will be charged at £100 per square metre, retail warehousing and "bulky" retail will be charged at £300 per square metre and convenience retail with floorspace over 300sq metres charged at £150 per square metre. Smaller retail will only face a charge – £150 per square metre – in areas outside of built-up areas. All other types of development will face no charges in any of the zones. The consultation closes on 6 February 2012.

Havant Borough Council has also published a preliminary draft charging schedule. It proposes charges of between £84 and £105 per square metre of residential development and charges of up to £84 per square metre for out of town retail development. Town centre retail development will not have to pay the tariff. The consultation closes on 20 January 2012.

Viability concerns prompt councils to reduce proposed levy rates…

A group of councils in Norfolk are considering plans to fix CIL charges a lower rate than they initially intended. Three local authorities – Norwich City Council and South Norfolk and Broadland district councils – are working together to draw up plans for introducing a CIL.

The authorities’ preliminary draft charging schedules, published for consultation in October, had recommended charges of up to £160 per square metre of residential floorspace in Norwich and areas closest to the city, meaning that developers would have had to pay a levy of around £15,000 per property. But a meeting of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership board has been asked to recommend to its three constituent authorities that the levy is set at up to £115 per square metre of residential floorspace, meaning that developers would be asked to pay a charge of around £11,000 per property.

Contract wins for Roger Tym and CIL Knowledge…

The final CIL Watch update of 2011 concludes with news of contract wins for consultancies Roger Tym and Partners and the CIL Knowledge Partnership.

Roger Tym & Partners have been contracted by Fareham Borough Council, the London Borough of Sutton and Chelmsford Borough Council to undertake CIL viability studies and provide ongoing support.

The CIL Knowledge Partnership has been appointed by Bracknell Forest Council to deliver a CIL viability study and undertake an infrastructure healthcheck and support CIL rate setting. It has also been appointed by Bath and North East Somerset Council to deliver a CIL viability study and support the rate setting process.

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Follow Jamie on Twitter at @J_J_Carpenter

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