“The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations are a complex area of planning law and can have a significant impact on development costs where they have been implemented by Local Planning Authorities (LPAs). In the South West, CIL is operational in a number of districts. It is important landowners are aware if CIL is operational in their area and the types of development and charges that are being levied before applying for planning consent as, in some cases, the CIL can result in a development becoming financially unviable”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis explains, “CIL allows LPAs to impose a charge on new development to raise funds for infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and transport improvements. The type of development that is potentially chargeable is wide ranging and includes the creation of new buildings or work to existing buildings. The amount payable is calculated at the time of obtaining planning permission by multiplying the chargeable floor area by the relevant LPA’s CIL rate. This can vary according to the location and type of development. As an example, East Devon District Council has recently implemented a charging schedule that sets a rate of £125/m2 on new dwellings created outside certain key settlements and £150/m2 on all retail developments outside town centres.
In areas where CIL has been implemented, the default position is that LPAs are able to demand payments adding tens of thousands of pounds to the cost of certain types of development. However, depending on the circumstances, exemptions and reliefs are available for minor developments of less than 100m2, self-build residential development and social housing. For proposals that involve converting existing buildings, it is also possible to apply to deduct the floor space of the existing building when calculating the chargeable area, but only when the existing building has been in lawful use for a continuous period of at least six months in the three years before obtaining permission.”
Dinnis says that the process of obtaining an exemptions or relief is not automatic and that they must be applied for and obtained before commencing development. “The complexity of CIL unfortunately means it is full of pitfalls for the unwary. It is therefore essential that landowners understand the process and the charges that are being levied by their LPAs alongside the exemptions and reliefs that exist to decide how best to structure applications to maximise the viability of their development proposals,” advises Dinnis.
For advice on rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at email@example.com. Brian is a Chartered Surveyor and an Associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.