Levy receipts 'yet to be used for infrastructure'

Local authorities that have introduced a development tariff have yet to spend any receipts on local infrastructure, a report has indicated.

Infrastructure: study says councils are not spending CIL cash
Infrastructure: study says councils are not spending CIL cash

The report, published by property firm Savills, finds that just less than £50 million was been raised through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) across 16 charging authorities in the financial year 2013/14.

But the report says receipts from the cross-London mayoral CIL accounted for 94 per cent of this and councils outside the capital collected less than four per cent of the total.

The report adds that the average amount collected by 16 authorities publishing CIL reports was £300,000 in the time since they had brought the levy in, excluding the London mayoral CIL. Savills’ report says none of the charging authorities it reviewed with annual reports spent any income on local infrastructure.

Lizzie Cullum, associate director in Savills’ planning team, said: "When you look at the amount of money received through CIL against the cost of the infrastructure projects councils want to fund, you’ve got this huge gap."

Stephen Ashworth, partner at law firm Dentons, said it is to be expected that councils have not yet spent money raised by CIL. He said: "Strategic infrastructure costs a lot, and if you are collecting money on the drip it will take quite a while until this leads to a full bucket."

Meanwhile, the Savills report also says in the month before CIL takes effect there is a "sharp peak" in the number of residential units granted full consent (see infographic above). This is followed by a "sharp drop" once CIL is implemented, it adds.

Gilian MacInnes, principal consultant at the Planning Advisory Service, said: "It isn’t unheard of for there to be a whoosh of resolutions to grant, subject to a section 106 agreement, and them all trying to get through the system before the date of adoption."

She added: "If you’ve been negotiating some sites for two years, then you want it sorted out based on that. You don’t want this new kid on the block CIL coming along and disrupting it."

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