Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a charge which can be levied by local authorities on new development in their area. It is an important tool for local authorities to use to help them deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in their area.

The levy only applies in areas where a local authority has consulted on, and approved, a charging schedule which sets out its levy rates and has published the schedule on its website.

Most new development which creates net additional floor space of 100 square metres or more, or creates a new dwelling (except where a house is sub-divided to flats with no extensions to increase floor space), is potentially liable for the levy.

Some developments may be eligible for relief or exemption from the levy. This includes residential annexes and extensions, and houses and flats which are built by ‘self-builders’. There are strict criteria that must be met, and procedures that must be followed, to obtain the relief or exemption. (Source Gov.uk)

The need to obtain full planning in some cases for a change of use does put off a lot of SME developers who would rather stick to PD or prior approval strategies, and this in turn creates more opportunity for those developers ‘in the know’ and prepared to take on these challenges to unlock their potential.

We recently obtained full planning permission in just such a case for Leufroy, an experienced developer, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to convert roughly 3,500 sqft of secondary office space on the upper floors of a building in Notting Hill Gate to 4no self-contained high-end apartments.

Challenging a CIL notice

The basis for challenging a CIL notice is very rigid and cannot usually be challenged on the basis of a lack of viability (contrast with affordable housing payments, which can be).

Therefore, it is critical to know from the outset, perhaps before even buying a site the likely CIL charge (if done so with the intention to develop for housing).  This is a complex area of planning and professional advice should be sought.

For example, in a recent case whilst preparing the application, we reviewed the CIL position.  We were able to provide evidence to the Council early enough and confirm that at least part of the floor space had been occupied for at least 6 continuous months in the last 3 years.  Had we not done this, the client would have had a potential CIL liability of over £360k.

This was confirmed in the relevant CIL forms.  It is important that this is done early in the application, and preferably on submission of the application to make a consistent and robust CIL-proof case to officers.

The Government is currently consulting on changes to the CIL regime, known as ‘Infrastructure Levy, which we will discuss in a separate blog.

DRK Planning Ltd is a multi-disciplinary planning and development consultancy practice founded by David Kemp. With more than 20 years of experience in planning consultancy. DRK Planning provides a diverse range of expertise, adding value to owners and businesses through a wide range of property services.

If you have an enquiry about Class MA – email info@drkplanning.co.uk we’re happy to discuss your project in an initial brief introductory call.