Too early to blame CIL for driving down permissions, by Richard Garlick

Is the Community Infrastructure Levy driving down permissions for housing?

That question was invited by a report published this week. Commissioned by the Home Builders Federation from consultancy Savills, it studied data for the 16 local authorities that have had a levy in place for more than 12 months, and have published an annual report detailing CIL income.

The report showed that charging authorities have seen a 49 per cent fall in the number of new residential planning consents granted in the 12 months following CIL implementation.

But whether this is due to the impact of the levy on the viability of development is doubtful. As the report’s graphic shows, and as was demonstrated vividly when the London mayoral CIL was introduced, there tends to be a spike in decisions just before the levy takes effect, as developers try to hurry through section 106 planning gain agreements. A drop in permissions in the months after CIL implementation most probably simply represents a quiet spell after the deadline.

To come to a reliable conclusion about the impact of CIL implementation on permissions, we will need to wait until more authorities have had a levy rate in place for a longer time. Twelve months is just not long enough.

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