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Letter: When Will the Community Infrastructure Levy Be Introduced

Published on: 8 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 8 Jun, 2020

From Simon Mason

In response to: Participation Urged in Public Consultation on Local Plan, Part Two

Cllr Jan Harwood states that he is, “…proud of the work we have done to take the Local Plan forward in a constructive and community-focused way”.

I would be proud of him or any other councillor if one of them could explain when the much-awaited Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging structure will be introduced.

This CIL was consulted on as part of the Local Plan process in 2016 and promised cash windfalls to local communities who had to accommodate additional development on their doorsteps. (A charge ranging from £300-500 per square metre for new development was to be introduced with local parishes receiving as much as 25% of this in cash)

Since then local communities have had to put up with application after application from windfall and allocated sites on their doorsteps without any Community Infrastructure payments being received.

Why oh why the delay on this? The coffers of local communities are being deprived of millions of pounds without any explanation from the council as to why CIL has not been introduced.

Without communities receiving cash payments for development on their doorsteps, the adopted Local Plan is still very developer focussed, not community focussed.

Cllr Harwood responded: “Following dismissal of the challenges to the Local Plan in February of this year, the council is in a position to progress with the CIL process. There is a need to revisit viability evidence as part of this process, as much has changed in the last few years, and the potential implications of new policy requirements that may emerge from the second part of the Local Plan need to be considered. The procurement of specialists to help inform the council regarding the level at which CIL charges might be set is underway. We anticipate consultation on CIL in the new year.”

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test 5 Responses to Letter: When Will the Community Infrastructure Levy Be Introduced

  1. Simon Mason Reply

    June 8, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    Cllr Harwood’s reply is appreciated however I do not accept in any way that the judicial challenges to the plan delayed CIL introduction. The introduction of a Community Infrastructure Levy was consulted on throughout the formation of the Local Plan and passed through the examination and should have been introduced from day one of the plan’s formal adoption.

    The delays with its introduction are scandalous and developers and landowners are laughing all the way to the bank whilst communities are getting nothing.

    At this rate, all the strategic allocated sites (Wisley, Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill, Garlicks Arch etc) currently going through planning or gearing up to apply will escape having to pay CIL but, no doubt, it will catch out poor Joe Bloggs looking to build a small side extension in five-years-time.

    Cllr Joss Bigmore needs to get to the bottom of this and prioritise the collection of this CIL from the strategic sites. Communities are being seriously let down by this incompetence.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 9, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Cllr Harwood gives a good example of how to say a lot without saying anything. I’ve seldom read such gobbledygook and obfuscation, and that is saying something, as the previous Tory regime is a hard act to follow in that regard.

    Either the CIL rates and percentage to parishes were set in the Local Plan, or they weren’t, so why do we now need expensive consultants to do this work again? If the rates and percentages are still to be agreed, then the Plan is unfit for purpose and should be scrapped.

  3. Simon Mason Reply

    June 12, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Just so that readers understand the figures of how much money is being deprived from the community due to our council’s unbelievable delays in not adopting the CIL policy when the Local Plan was adopted;

    By way of example the developers of Garlicks Arch are in the process of applying for 520 houses of which 312 units or 60% will be private plots which should be liable to pay CIL. The submitted documents suggest that the average private house size is 108sq metres. Bearing in mind that CIL was proposed at £300 per square metre for the rural villages the developer would have to contribute £32400 for each private house.

    If CIL had been adopted, when it should have been, then the developers of Garlick’s Arch would be looking at a contribution to local infrastructure of £10 million.(312 units at £32400)

    This £10 Million would have come off the land value, which, lets not forget, soared from being worth approx. £500k to £40million when the field was allocated and the plan adopted.

    Let’s also not forget that Garlicks Arch is one of the smaller strategic sites and £10m will pale into insignificance if Wisley or Gosden or Blackwell Farm obtain permission before CIL is adopted.

    Our Council needs to fast track CIL adoption.

    Cllr Harwood responded: “It is important to clarify that the critical issue at hand is ensuring the delivery of local infrastructure. The fact that CIL is not in place does not mean that significant contributions to infrastructure delivery are lost – they are being secured in a different way. The council currently ensure this by means of section 106 legal agreements with developers, which include required contributions for school provision, open space development, highways and a range of other infrastructure.

    The development in question, as will be the case for other large sites, would be party to a s106 agreement. Even once CIL is in place, the council will continue to use s106 agreements as a principal means of securing delivery of infrastructure, including in relation to strategic sites.

    We do regard CIL as a potentially complementary tool to s106 agreements, with notable advantages in securing contributions from smaller sites that cumulatively have an impact on infrastructure. As noted, the council is pursuing the introduction of CIL and as part of this process must revisit the assumptions that underpin proposed levy charges.”

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    June 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I find Cllr Harwood’s explanation of S106 and CIL rather confusing.

    S106 agreements are a mechanism which makes a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable. They are focused on site-specific mitigation of the impact of development. Whereas CIL is not about site-specific issues. As its name says it is Community Infrastructure Levy.

    GBC will be losing out a lot of levies if CIL is not introduced without any further delay. And we know how difficult it is to secure funding and invest in new infrastructure and improve the existing ones. Reduction in congestion and pollution will benefit the whole community.

  5. Lisa Wright Reply

    June 12, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    It’s all rather too convenient for the owners of the strategic sites not to have a CIL agreement in place yet. Considering the new council was formed over a year ago and have had plenty of time, it makes you wonder what the delay has been?

    I also wonder whether councillors are now considering the huge changes in our country due to Brexit and Covid and will now look at the percentage of people who have left the country, workers that no longer need to live near train stations and the huge recession we now face? Are those figures being crunched?

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