The Government is proposing 15 further changes to the way the Community Infrastructure Levy is applied. These changes seek to address issues arising from current experience so as to ensure that the levy is both workable and effective.
In response to today’s announcement, Alison Mackay, Planning Consultant at Colliers International said, “The new consultation document demonstrates anything but a radical reform of the CIL system. There are a number of procedural and wording amendments, which will be welcomed by developers and investors such as provisions for phasing of the levy payments. However, it remains an inflexible mechanism which has the ability to significantly impact on the viability of both major and minor schemes.
“The ability to allow different rates within the same use class (i.e. by scale rather than use) is likely to have implications for larger Class A1 uses which have previously benefitted from an inability for Local Authorities to differentiate between small and large units, unless through the ‘zoning’ system. As such, new build Class A1 food operators in town centres currently benefit from low (or nil) rates applied to Class A1 uses, primarily to safeguard the viability of non-food and smaller units on the high street and not impact further on the ever more declining vitality and viability of town centres.”
Amongst the proposed changes, Colliers International considers the following are the most significant:
- The date by which local authorities should introduce the levy has been pushed back by one year to April 2015;
- Different CIL rates will be allowed to be applied to different scales of the same use (eg small shops and retail warehouses);
- The Public Consultation period on the draft Charging Schedule should be extended by 2 weeks to 6 weeks;
- Developers will be able to make payments in kind through the provision of infrastructure or land, or a mix of the two;
- Remove the vacancy test so that existing floorspace will not be subject to the levy no matter how long it has been vacant;
- Allowing phased payments for complex multi-phase schemes approved by either outline or full permission.
This consultation primarily covers issues that have arisen during the preparation and implementation of emerging Local Authority CILs and runs until 28th May 2013.