Bill proposes council levy

The proposed community infrastructure levy (CIL) in the Planning Reform Bill will let councils charge developers for infrastructure not related to specific schemes.

Charges will be based on requirements outlined in the local development plan, breaking the current link between a contribution and particular developments.

The tariff approach will be applied to all new residential and commercial developments. It means that more developers will face the levy because it will cover smaller schemes.

Just seven per cent of applications currently lead to contributions, according to Town and Country Planning Association chief executive Gideon Amos. He said: "It is vital to have a broad-based charge to ensure that the 93 per cent of applications that contribute nothing are included."

RTPI policy director Rynd Smith said the CIL is far more likely to work than the other solutions but still needs to be tested. The government will have the power to cap the rate that local authorities impose and dictate areas of spending. This could be used to prevent them from setting the rate too high to block developments, said Smith.

The tariff approach was pioneered in Milton Keynes. But Eversheds national head of planning Paul Wootton questioned whether it would work successfully in more complex areas such as the Thames Gateway, in which large numbers of developers are involved.

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