A consultation is being opened by Cheshire East Council into a planning levy on new property developments within the borough – the CIL or Community Infrastructure Levy.
Were the scheme to go ahead, a levy would be payable by developers based on the net square internal floor-space of any new developments and, whilst there are various bands proposed including zero for certain retail sites, the levy could be up to £168 per square metre.
What changes will the scheme introduce?
The scheme has become popular with councils around the country as it allows funds raised through the levy to be used generally throughout their boroughs.
According to the local-democracy think tank LGIU"One of the main attractions of CIL is that, unlike Section 106 , the infrastructure funded does not need to relate directly to a particular development. CIL from a development in the north of a local authority area could, for instance, be used to fund a link road in the south."
Section 106 is the widely criticised scheme under which an otherwise unacceptable proposal can be approved through an agreement with the developer to reduce the impact of their development on the community. Many developers, however, have found legal loopholes through which they avoid their obligations under these agreements.
Whether or not developers find a way to legally avoid the new Community Infrastructure Levy, were the funds collected against a given development allocated directly to the community affected by it could the most commonly heard concerns around significant developments in rural areas be addressed?
How could the scheme affect Audlem?
Indeed we wonder whether the reaction around Audlem to the recently granted Gladman and Heathfield Road developments might have been different were funds from the CIL made directly available for the improvement & repair of roads, medical facilities, schools, green spaces and leisure centres within our community?
Perhaps Cheshire East should find a way to ensure this and to apply the levy retrospectively to recently granted permissions?
The initial consultation period begins Monday 27th February and will last until Monday 10th April. Once the consultation feedback has been collated, a final decision on the levy will be taken at a cabinet meeting.
- Details of this and other new planning documents and policies are available on the Cheshire East website here
- The Government CIL Overview Document can be read here
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