Policy Summary: Community infrastructure levy review gets going with appointment of expert panel

Policy: Community Infrastructure Levy Review

Housing: levy effectiveness scrutinised
Housing: levy effectiveness scrutinised

Issued by: Department for Communities and Local Government

Issue date: 19 November 2015

Closing date: 15 January 2016

Background: The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was introduced in April 2010 to provide a "faster, fairer, more certain and transparent means" of collecting infrastructure contributions than negotiated section 106 obligations. The operation of the levy was to be subject to a review after five years.

Key points: Last month, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced the membership of an independent review group to assess how far CIL provides or can provide an effective mechanism for funding infrastructure, and to recommend changes supporting ministers' wider housing and growth objectives.

Chaired by former British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace, the group includes South Norfolk District Council leader John Fuller, Home Builders Federation planning director Andrew Whitaker, Planning Advisory Service principal consultant Gillian Macinnes, Quod director Tom Dobson, Hogan Lovells partner Michael Gallimore and London Borough of Croydon planning officer Steve Dennington.

The group will consider the relationship between CIL and section 106 mechanisms in infrastructure delivery, including the limits set in April on pooling obligations. It will also look at viability impact, including any disproportionate effect on particular types or scales of development.

Also under scrutiny will be CIL reliefs and exemptions, levying and spending arrangements and governance, the neighbourhood portion's impact on communities' receptiveness to development, and the geographical scale of collection and charging.

After its first meeting last month, the group sought views on how effectively the CIL can fund infrastructure. It is keen to hear from a range of sources - councils, community groups, developers, surveyors, lawyers and consultants - with experience of the regime. Among other issues, the group is seeking views on whether CIL has changed the role of local authorities and whether charging schedules should be reviewed at set intervals.

It also asks whether a standard viability assessment methodology would be helpful or feasible and whether viability concerns have resulted in low CIL rates, adversely affecting infrastructure delivery.

Based on its assessments, the group has been asked to make clear, prioritised recommendations as a basis for improving the system. The DCLG says its findings must include an assessment of how CIL is used to deliver infrastructure and support community engagement.

The group has also been told that its recommendations should take account of the Tories' 2015 election manifesto pledge that communities will know upfront whether essential infrastructure will be provided when new homes are granted permission. The target date for delivering its report is 31 March.

The document can be read here. 

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