Board settles home levy for developers

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) has approved proposals for a standard infrastructure charge for new developments.

The WNDC's board agreed the charge last week. Equivalent to £20,000 a home, it will apply to all schemes of more than 50 houses. The corporation had hoped to finalise the rate in July (Planning, 2 May, p1) but had to review the proposals in the light of consultation responses and the credit crunch.

It believes that the strategy, which involved a year-long consultation, is the most far-reaching and ambitious of its kind in the East Midlands. It will be followed next year by an infrastructure delivery programme setting out short and medium-term commitments.

WNDC planning and development director Stephen Kelly said the model uses the principles of the community infrastructure levy in a section 106 framework. Councils will be able to use it as a basis for implementing the levy, he added.

However, the WNDC accepted that it may need to consider a discount on charges for brownfield sites because of viability issues.

Kelly said: "We recognise the current difficult market conditions. However, the need for roads, schools and community and health facilities does not change with the market. We have listened to developers' concerns and are seeking to resolve this."

Meanwhile, John Markham has been announced as the corporation's new chairman. Roger Mendonca is interim chief executive until April.

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