Agenda item

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) (Agenda item 13)

Report of the Executive Member for Planning, Health & Housing (Paul Claussen).

Minutes:

The Principal Planning Policy Officer presented the report which informed Members about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), and identified what was needed in order to implement a CIL in Breckland, including a suggested timetable for implementation.

 

Approval was sought for the formation of a ‘Working Group’ of Cabinet to lead the research and development of the CIL and make recommendations to Council accordingly.

 

The concept and the process to implement a CIL were explained.  In simple terms a CIL would be used to help pay for infrastructure and local communities would receive a direct slice of the levy.  It would be discretionary but by not implementing such a levy would have huge repercussions to the authority.  If Breckland Council did not proceed, S106 Agreements and Legal Agreements would still exist but off-site contributions under CIL regulations would cease from 2014.

 

There had been some uncertainty around development contributions, and a real potential that CIL could be abolished but since publication of the agenda, the Government had recently confirmed that CIL would definitely go forward.

 

Further details had been set out in Appendix A of the report and the proposed methodology at Section 7 was explained.

 

The infrastructure that could be funded by the CIL included transport, flood defences, schools, hospitals, and other health and social care facilities.  The Executive Member for the Environmental Wellbeing & Communications Portfolio asked if CIL would still support biodiversity and grounds maintenance.  Members were informed that in terms of public open space, the starting point would be to look at on-site provision but the wider green infrastructure could be included in the levy.  He pointed out that the report recommended that a Steering Group be set up in terms of what Breckland Council wanted its levy to cover.  Charitable elements would need to be explored but many projects could be brought into the CIL envelope after 2014.

 

It was proposed that two Executive Members should sit on the proposed Officer Steering Group as some high level decisions would have to be made.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive reminded Members what the Chairman had said earlier about this level of spend could not be sustained in the future as this type of funding would not exist.

 

The Executive Member for the Corporate Development & Performance Portfolio was worried that this new levy would start to stifle people who wanted to develop.   He mentioned and expressed his concern with regard to the cost of delivering affordable housing which had been excluded from CIL because the Government believed that planning obligations remained the best way forward and he asked for the meaning of non-essential contributions.  In response, the Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that these were direct on-site contributions.  With regard to the latter, the Chairman advised that the Government was addressing the whole social housing tenure so affordable housing issues would be most probably addressed.

 

Options

 

1)           To approve the research and development of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for Breckland Council, with the formation of a Sub-Group of Cabinet.

 

2)           Not to approve the research and development of a CIL.

 

Reasons

 

All local authorities would need to have CIL schedules in place by 2014 if they wanted to secure contributions from landowners and developers towards the costs of infrastructure projects.

 

A CIL would provide the Council with a mechanism of funding shortfalls in infrastructure to support the growth in Breckland by charging developers.

 

If CIL or another charge was not taken forward, the Council would need to investigate other ways of funding any shortfall in infrastructure requirements from new development.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)           the research and development of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for Breckland Council be approved;

2)           a CIL Steering Group be formed with Officers (which would be a sub-group of Cabinet, to reduce the length of the approval procedure) to lead the research and development of the CIL and make recommendations to Council accordingly;

3)           the membership of the Steering Group to include the Executive Member for the Planning, Health and Housing Portfolio and the Executive Member for the Economic and Commercial Portfolio; and

4)           the sum of £23,430 be released from the Organisational Development Review Reserve to cover the cost of implementing the CIL in stages.

Supporting documents: