10 top tips about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

We speak from experience…

Urbanissta are now familiar with the principle of CIL and making reps to Examination sessions, as well as dealing with new application in CIL areas. We have however recently, had challenging experiences with CIL and considered it insightful to prepare this ‘Top Tips’ article should be of help to house builders, planners, engineers, land buyers, architects and regional builders.

What is the CIL?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) came into force in April 2010. It allows local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in their area. The money can be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure that is needed as a result of development. This includes new or safer road schemes, flood defences, schools, hospitals and other health and social care facilities, park improvements, green spaces and leisure centres.

We at Urbanissta have experience in dealing with and have knowledge of the CIL. We have had to address questions in order to avoid or limit the risks that can be presented to us or our clients.

These are 10 Top Tips to help you prepare for and avoid any expensive lessons to be learnt from the CIL:

  1. Knowledge is power – Be aware of any changes in the CIL. To request notifications of amendment go to this site and sign up to receive updates as they happen. Read more.
  2. Don’t presume – Find out if the extant planning permission pre-dates the introduction of the CIL in the local authority area that you are planning to work in.
  3. What are the different variables? – What variation to the permission is intended to be made? Is it a non-material amendment to the permission via s96a or is it a minor material amendment that requires variation to the permission via s73?
  4. It pays to be cautious – Take caution if the permission needs to be varied via s73, you don’t want any unexpected surprises.
  5. Look beyond the obvious – What extent of the site does the variation relate?
  6. Do your research – Determine if there is any affordable housing within the proposed variation to which (if a new permission were being applied for) would have Social Housing Relief (SHR).
  7. Get confirmation – Confirm whether the extant permission has been implemented and if the development has commenced.
  8. Be aware of the risks – If implementation has taken place and the s73 area includes affordable housing for which SHR would be applied for.
  9. Plan and be organised – Social Housing Relief has to be applied for after permission is granted but before implementation has taken place. Depending upon your scheme’s unique circumstances, consider whether implementation has taken place (albeit under a separate previous permission) there is a risk that SHR cannot legitimately be applied for following the grant of the s73, because implementation has already occurred.
  10. Look at all considerations – Consider whether there is scope for CIL liability to be triggered for the whole area to which the s73 variation relates – including the affordable housing.

Tips are a great start but we have only touched the surface with this list. If you want more information on the key points we have raised, contact us for more advice.

The extent of our knowledge has resulted from extensive negotiations where we have managed to avoid an expensive CIL liabilities for clients. In addition, we have dealt with different CIL challenges where a site straddled two Local Authority administrative areas, one authority having operative CIL and the other does not.

The issues that we needed to consider on this site were:

  • The principle access to the site would be through the non CIL authority area. Implementation of a permission once issued would therefore occur in the non CIL area, however with a single cross boundary application the concern was whether such implementation would trigger a CIL liability in CIL operative administration area
  • It was concluded that implementation would trigger the applicable CIL liability if the (single) permission were implemented in the non CIL area
  • Next it was a matter of seeking to determine the most effective and comprehensive manner in which to secure permission within both administrative areas without triggering CIL liabilities unnecessarily and without submitting two separate applications
  • Prior submission, it was agreed with both local authorities that the development proposals would be distinctly phased. The phasing approach would ensure that the phases of the site were clearly defined within the CIL affected area. These phases would be delineated via condition to restrict the trigger of a CIL liability to the implantation of each specific phases with the CIL local authority area and not the wider scheme

And finally…

These are the key considerations for the transitional period whilst CIL Charging Schedules are at different stages of progress:

  • Monitor progress of CIL introduction with local authority areas whilst implementation of extant permissions has taken place
  • Consider if a permission was granted prior to CIL being introduced by an LPA, if it had been implemented and is proposed to be varied after the introduction of CIL.
  • If CIL becomes operable in the LPA area, following implementation (of an extant permission) and variations to the permission are required by s73, consider carefully what changes are required. Is Social Housing Relief required and determine if a CIL liability would be triggered on the entire (applicable) area the subject of the varied permission if SHR cannot be applied for
  • Where sites have cross boundary considerations, ensure that any CIL liability can be ring-fenced to implementation only within the CIL affected area – and not implementation elsewhere on the site

In conclusion…

We are sure that as CIL gets rolled out across more local authority areas, we’ll all experience further transitional challenges, however if in the meantime the above can prevent you from getting into any sticky and costly situations with CIL affected areas then all is well and good!

For further reading and information about making CIL work in 2016: Read more.


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