Government Consultation of CIL Reforms

The Government is proposing 15 further changes to the way the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is applied. These changes seek to address issues arising from current experience so as to ensure that the levy is both workable and effective. Amongst the proposed changes, we consider 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 and can be found here.

Proposals for home extensions to be revised next week

The government has made planning reform a key part of its agenda since being elected. Some proposals have met fierce resistance from the backbenches such as the proposal to allow homeowners to build single-storey extensions of up to 8 meters without needing planning permission. This was narrowly passed after a rebellion lead by the influential Zac Goldsmith MP for Richmond who argued that this proposal would have a significant effect within his constituency.  The changes will be published within the next week.

Green light for 1,900-homs on MoD sites in Oxfordshire

Cherwell District Council has resolved to approve an application by the MoD on the outskirts of Bicester. The application proposes a housing lead mixed use development which also includes a primary school, community hall, shops, business and industrial units on two sites – Graven Hill and Upper Arncott. The proposals also provide public space and road improvement works, as well as a 70,000 square-metre MoD warehouse. The scheme will create 380 affordable homes (which equates to 20 per cent).

Tesco pulls plug on more than 100 sites

Tesco has announced that it has identified more than 100 sites in its property portfolio that it no longer intends to develop as they are 'unviable'. Tesco stated that it had assessed the sites’ "viability and potential to deliver an appropriate level of return on capital" and consequently decided not to develop them. This is following a 13% fall in trading profit over the last year which is the first time in 20 years that profits have fallen. The retailer announced off the back of these results it will be pulling out of America and Japan.

Canada Water development deal moves forward

Southwark Council has approved a deal between the Daily Mail General Trust and British Land that will free up the 5.8ha Harmsworth Quay near Canada Water for redevelopment. The quay is currently home to the Daily Mail’s print works, but Southwark’s consent means the paper can assign its leasehold interest to real estate investment trust British Land.

British Land is expected to obtain vacant possession later this year and to begin drawing up proposals for its redevelopment. Possible options include a new campus for Kings College London and a possible £38 million refurbishment and expansion of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. The site is prime for re-development due to its location in between the Isle of Dogs and London Bridge.

Plans for Station Hill in Reading submitted

Sackville Developments Reading Limited has submitted an application for outline planning permission for a £500m redevelopment of the five acre site  Station Hill, Reading. The application proposes a mixed-use development comprising offices with 86,000 sq ft of shops, 13,000 sq ft of leisure and 300 flats. The site is currently disused and underutilised, the regeneration of this site is important for Reading as it is one of the first buildings visitors see on arrival at the main train station. For more information follow this link.

Westminster delay policy review

Westminster City Council was due to start a review of its policies through the publication of a series of topic papers starting in March and ending in September 2013. Lisa O’Donnell, the council’s Head of Planning Policy advises that no topic papers will be released until after the Government has made a decision of the exemptions for the office to residential Permitted Development rights. This is expected to be released on the 30th May.

Northern Ireland – Planning update

The Northern Irish government launched a consultation today proposing a change to planning fees including a reduction in the cost of applying to renew planning permission (25% of what is payable if it were a new planning application).  Non-profit organisations are proposed to be made exempt from fees for applications relating to community facilities currently there is a 50% discount. The government said the aim was to ‘develop a fair and fit for purpose charging system’. The consultation closes on the 14th June and can be found here.

As part of the devolution of powers to the regions this allowed a certain degree of flexibly over the implementation and development of planning law.

Notorious Northern Irish prison The Maze granted planning permission

The Maze prison which housed paramilitary prisoners during the troubles between 1971-2000 was given planning permission for a Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre this week. It will be designed by Daniel Libskind who is renowned for his involvement in the redevelopment of ground zero in New York. This will ensure this part of Northern Irish history is never forgotten and will provide regeneration to a brownfield site in the province. More information can be found here.

Self-Building in London

The London Legacy Development Corporation is offering plots for up to 100 homes for self-building in particular on land used for the Handball Arena at last year’s Olympics. This is another way of encouraging home ownership and house building. The article can be read here.

Self-building is popular on the continent and the government wants to help promote it in the UK as it will help support the house building sector while providing homes.