Agenda item

Breckland Community Infrastructure Levy - Draft Charging Schedule and Viability Assessment (Agenda item 9)

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Portfolio Holder for Assets and Strategic Development.

 

Appendix A:  Community Infrastructure Levy Amended Regulations 2014: Impact upon Breckland’s Charging Schedule

Appendix B: Breckland’s Draft Charging Schedule

Appendix C: Breckland’s Regulation 123 List

Appendix D: CIL Revenue and Funding Gap Paper – Revised version

Appendix E: Summary of Responses to the Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule Consultation

 

Due to the size of the aforementioned documents, a limited number of paper copies will be available on the day (see supplement).

 

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development presented the report that asked the Cabinet to consider the options on the progression of a Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule (CIL).  He asked that the recommendations be amended as the CIL was going through hiatus at the moment in relation to guidance and regulations not matching up.

 

The Planning Policy Officer stated that the Planning Policy Team had been through a considerable amount of work which included a consultation in 2013.  Since the Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule was consulted upon, further viability evidence had been undertaken in response to some of the representations received.  This work particularly aimed to address the concerns of Norfolk County Council.  The work looked to exclude education contributions from CIL and instead fund them through S106 Agreements.  However, the additional viability work showed that it would not be viable within Breckland to seek a larger S106 Agreement to fund education in addition to a CIL charge for individual dwellings.

 

The Planning Policy Officer provided Members with a detailed overview of what the amendments to the CIL regulations would mean to Breckland Council.  These amendments came into force on 24th February 2014 and had been reviewed so that their impact upon the potential CIL in Breckland could be considered.  It was noted that this was the 7th version of regulations received.  The key amendments were:

 

·          Delaying the restrictions on pooling of S106 agreements from April 2014 to April 2015

·          Exemptions from CIL for Self-Build properties. This included both traditional self-build dwellings and those commissioned by individuals to use as their sole or main residence plus in-kind payments

·          Allowing the phasing of CIL

·          Allowing CIL to be set by size of development, not just by type (or Use Class)

 

The report at Appendix A showed that the amendments to the CIL regulations were likely to lead to a reduction in the amount of money Breckland Council could expect to raise through this charge.  The reduction to the CIL pot primarily related to the exemptions for self build dwellings.  These dwellings would predominately relate to windfall schemes for individual dwellings.  Overall this could lead to a reduction in the CIL pot by up to 39.8% over the remainder of the plan period to 2026.  The money raised through CIL over the remainder of the plan period would be £6.86 million.

 

A key difference between CIL and S106 Agreements was the meaningful proportion of CIL that would go to Town and Parish Councils.  If Cabinet was mindful not to progress CIL in Breckland, Town and Parish Councils would not receive a meaningful proportion of the money to put towards infrastructure with their Parish.

 

Parishes with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan would receive 25% of the CIL receipts, whilst parishes without such a Plan would receive 15%; however, this would be capped at £100 per council tax paying dwelling per year.

 

In relation to future S106 Agreements, from April 2015, the use of such agreements would be restricted to five or less obligations for any single type of infrastructure.  The CIL regulations were clear that the pooling restrictions on planning obligations related to either projects or types of infrastructure.

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development explained the difference between S106 agreements under the new regime and CIL regulations.  S106 agreements he classed as almost immediate money, whereas CIL would be more like a ‘drip feed’ into a pot.  S106s could now be made more specific whereas in the past such agreements had to be passed to Norfolk County Council and spent somewhere in Norfolk and not necessarily in Breckland.  He urged the Cabinet to suspend the CIL for the time being and asked for his amended recommendations to be agreed:

 

  1. To agree option 3 and halt the production of CIL at the present time; and keep a watching brief on the CIL regulations; and

 

  1. authorise the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development and the Leader to recommence the process if the situation changed.

 

He advised that the second recommendation would mean further consultation would have to take place even though timescales were very short, and it was still not clear whether CIL had to be in place after April 2015.

 

Councillor Bambridge said that although he was not in favour of CIL he would like assurance that whatever sort of levy the Council put in place would go the local communities.

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development agreed entirely with the aforementioned comment and pointed out that there was a pot of money already available for the installation of children’s new play equipment in villages.  He advised that S106 Agreements from April 2015 would be solely for building around actual buildings.

 

Referring to page 38 of the report, the Opposition Leader asked if there was any news on what South Norfolk District Council had decided.  He also asked if Breckland Council would be disadvantaged for the postponement.  He felt that this had cost a great deal of money not just for Breckland Council but for all Councils and he asked if there would be any recompense from the Government.

 

Members were informed that all authorities had to pick up the costs and as far as neighbouring authorities were concerned, Broadland had had a CIL in place since 2012 and had noticed a considerable ‘drop off’.  In his opinion, S106s were far easier to manage compared to CIL.  The Planning Policy Officer advised that South Norfolk was charging CIL and had been since April 2014; however, South Norfolk had joined with three other authorities.

 

In response to a question, the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development explained that S106 agreements would be used alongside a CIL and a formula had to be used.  The Planning Manager gave his advice on the advantages and disadvantages of whether a CIL should be pursued.

 

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control & Housing referred to the timescales and was concerned about what would happen if CIL was suspended and then three months down the line the Council decided to go ahead. 

 

Councillor Martin said that he would prefer a blanket charge all over the District.  The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development advised that if there was a blanket charge put in place a viability assessment would have to be carried out. 

 

Option 1

 

Cabinet agree to the publication of the Draft Charging Schedule and Regulation 123 list for the statutory six week publication. Further to this Members also agree for the Charging Schedule and any minor modifications to be submitted for public examination with an Independent Examiner following agreement from the Council Leader and the Executive Member for Assets and Strategic Development.

 

  • Advantages – This option would see the Council continuing the preparation of CIL. To continue with this option would reduce the risks associated with the restrictions on the pooling of s106 agreements that will take effect from April 2015.

 

  • Disadvantages – This option would commit the Council to continuing with a CIL charging schedule and would need to be weighed against the amount of money which would be raised by CIL to support infrastructure. The recent changes to the regulations had seen reductions in the amount of money to be raised to approximately £6,857,535 over a 13 year period. This represented a reduction in 39.8% from previous estimates. Furthermore, there were risks associated with the review of the CIL regulations in 2015 and the potential for further changes depending on the outcome of Parliamentary Elections.  Notwithstanding this, the reduced CIL pot would also have implications on the provision of critical infrastructure to support planned development in Breckland. It was likely to lead to the need for the Council to make decisions regarding the prioritisation of infrastructure provision and could lead to the delay in some infrastructure being provided.

 

Option 2

 

Cabinet to agree to the Draft Charging Schedule and Regulation 123 list for public consultation and to bring back the Charging Schedule to Members before submitting it for examination.

 

The advantages and disadvantages for this option were the same as for Option 1; however, the following additional advantages and disadvantages had also been identified.

 

  • Advantages – All Members of Cabinet would be able to consider any representations received in regards to the charging schedule and review their implications on the charging schedule.

 

  • Disadvantages – This option had the potential to delay the timetable for the production of CIL which could lead the adoption of CIL to be beyond the April 2015 deadline for the pooling of s106 agreements.

 

Option 3

 

Members agree to halt the production of a Community Infrastructure Levy for Breckland for the present time. The Draft Charging Schedule would not be agreed for public consultation.

 

  • Advantages – Halting the production of CIL and continuing with a negotiated S106 approach provided greater assurances on the deliverability of key infrastructure. This approach avoided having to wait for funds to build up in the CIL ‘pot’ before infrastructure could be funded/ delivered. The implementation of CIL was likely to incur additional costs to the Council. These costs included a public examination, provision of new ICT systems/adaptations of existing ICT systems and potentially new staff resources to facilitate the collection of CIL receipts. S106 agreements would still be needed to secure affordable housing and also in circumstances where developments were exempt from CIL due to the level of on-site infrastructure needed. The CIL regulations allowed the Council to retain 5% of CIL receipts to cover administrative costs. This needed to be considered against a potentially diminishing level of CIL receipts over the plan period to 2026. When considering the cost of implementing, undertaking and monitoring CIL, the 5% was unlikely to meet all of this. As such, any additional cost above the 5% would need to be borne by the Council.

 

  • Disadvantages – The restrictions to the pooling of s106 agreements in April 2015 has the potential to reduce the amount of money raised through S106. If the Council decided not to continue with the implementation of a CIL charging schedule this could lead to a reduction in funding for infrastructure. If the Council decided not to implement a CIL charging schedule, this would have implications for Parish Councils within Breckland. The CIL regulations saw 15% of the total CIL receipt being past onto Parish Councils. This rose to 25% if the Parish Council had a Neighbourhood Plan in place. Parish Councils were not however eligible for a proportion of money raised

 

Reasons

 

It was recommended that Members endorsed Option 3 of the report which would halt the production of CIL at the present time.  Endorsing this option would not preclude Members from reconsidering CIL at a point in the future should the housing and commercial markets improve.  Furthermore, this option reduced the cost to the Council of setting up and implementing CIL for a limited potential return for infrastructure provision.  Option 3 also reduced the risks associated with the reduction in funds from CIL to provide critical infrastructure.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)     the production of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) be halted for the present time and a watching brief be kept on the CIL regulations; and

 

2)     the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development and the Chief Executive be given delegated authority to recommence the process if the situation changed.

Supporting documents: