The Community Infrastructure Levy (known as CIL) was introduced in 2010 to allow local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from new building projects to fund new infrastructure needed to support the development of the area. Since 2010, a number of changes have been made to CIL, as a result of lessons learnt during its early stages of implementation.
The latest package of proposed changes have already been through a consultation process and the Government has announced that they will be developing regulations and guidance as quickly as possible to enable the changes to come into effect by the end of January 2014 (subject to the parliamentary process).
Amongst the proposed changes are the following headlines:
All residential extensions and annexes to be exempt from CIL. (Currently larger residential extensions of 100m2 or more are liable to pay CIL)
Genuine self-build housing to be eligible to apply for relief from CIL
Extending the vacancy test from 1 year to 3 years. There is currently a ‘vacancy test’ which allows the off-setting of existing floorspace against a levy liability when a building has been in continuous lawful use for at least six of the previous 12 months. The new regulations will allow buildings that have been in use for a continuous period of 6 months in the last 3 years to be exempt from CIL payment. Furthermore, only increases in floorspace in refurbishment and redevelopment schemes would be chargeable, providing that the use of the buildings on site had not been abandoned
Changes to the rules for “discretionary relief in exceptional circumstances”. Currently there must be a Section 106 in place which is greater than the value of CIL, before discretionary relief can be provided. The proposed change is that the S106 must be in place but does not need to be higher in value than the CIL in order for discretionary relief to be sought
Changes to CIL appeals – the new regulations will allow appeals against the chargeable amount in relation to planning permissions granted after development has commenced. This will assist with retrospective planning permissions, section 73 applications or new planning permissions which change the design of a commenced scheme
Whilst the proposed changes will be welcomed by many, it is clear that the CIL regulations are continuously evolving and becoming an increasingly complex area of work for all those involved.
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