Planning Expert Outlines Issues Related To Flexibility Of Scheme
Irwin Mitchell’s Head of Planning has again raised his concerns about the suitability of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), after Sheffield City Council published plans to introduce it on new developments.
The CIL system, introduced in April 2010, allows local authorities to raise funds to pay for local and sub-regional infrastructure projects, including roads, schools and hospitals in an effort to boost the area’s growth.
Such levies are already being applied to schemes by six councils including Portsmouth and Shropshire, while councillors in Sheffield are now expected to move towards implementation of the charge with the start of a public consultation on a charging schedule.
Sheffield City Council has indicated that office and industrial buildings would not face a charge but outlined the following plans:
- Retail, car showrooms and out of town leisure developments would be the subject of a £60 per sq m levy
- New student housing would pay £50 per sq m
- Hotel schemes will pay £45 per sq m
- House builders would be charged between £20 and £100 per sq m, depending on the neighbourhood
Local stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment on Sheffield’s draft charging schedule once published, before it comes into force during the course of next year.
Commenting on the plans, Oliver Martin, Head of Planning at Irwin Mitchell, said there were widespread concerns regarding CIL across the country.
He explained: “The introduction of CIL may stifle development and regeneration as, once adopted in an area the CIL regime is not sufficiently flexible to deal with viability issues on difficult brownfield sites.
“Interestingly, Wolverhampton City Council has chosen not to implement CIL in its area due to concerns over viability of schemes. The existing S106 regime provides more flexibility for local authorities to take account of overall costs in order to ensure that schemes are viable and can proceed.
“A further problem is that the infrastructure to be paid for by CIL will not necessarily be provided in parallel with the relevant development, especially in the early stage when CIL receipts held by local authorities may not be sufficient for them to provide the required infrastructure.
“With all of these issues in mind, it will be interesting to see how Sheffield’s implementation of the plans moves forward.”