Public examination of the draft CIL schedule will take place late summer/early autumn 2019

Members of East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee have considered and unanimously agreed a draft revised Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule and instalment policy, which will overall increase the financial contributions sought from developers towards the provision of services and facilities such as schools, roads and open space in the district.

The draft revised charging schedule and instalment policy is now being consulted on for four weeks and can be found online.

Responses to the CIL consultation will be considered before a further draft schedule is prepared and consulted on in the spring. Finally, a public examination of the schedule is envisaged to take place in the late summer/early autumn.

The council originally adopted the Community Infrastructure Levy in 2016 and like many authorities uses it as a mechanism for collecting financial contributions from developers to deliver infrastructure in the district.

The original charging schedule, which has been in use since 2016, sets three different rates for residential development, reflecting the higher and lower value areas in the district. A charge was imposed on out of town retail developments as well.

When these charges were adopted, the council committed to an early review acknowledging that the government regulations and guidance on CIL had been changing while the original charging schedule had been examined and that this process had taken a long time, meaning that the charging schedule was already in need of review.

Although the charges are index linked it was felt that a review was needed to maximise the developer contributions sought, particularly in light of a massive funding gap of around £70 million to deliver the essential infrastructure needed to support the development in the district. Although CIL was never intended to cover the full cost of delivery of infrastructure, with public funding in key areas drying up due to austerity measures, it is increasingly being relied upon. 

The proposed revised charging schedule seeks to impose higher charges for residential development, increasing by just over £50 per square metre in most urban sites. Rural exception sites would now be exempt because their purpose is to deliver badly needed affordable housing to our rural communities and cannot afford to pay CIL.

The report also proposes reducing the CIL rate for out of town retail uses, acknowledging that current challenges in the retail sector are making this unaffordable. The revised charging schedule also removes Cranbrook from the CIL regime, meaning that the new town’s infrastructure would be delivered through Section 106 legal agreements, which tailor the delivery of infrastructure to the development and will ultimately maximise the services and facilities that can be delivered from planning consents at the town.

This change also enables the developers to deliver infrastructure such as schools themselves as has successfully been done at the town so far, enabling them to be delivered more quickly and at lower cost.

The report also proposes a revised instalment policy, which enables developers to pay their CIL in instalments while the development is built out. The current instalments policy carries a significant administrative burden for the council and is now considered to be overly generous by allowing even small sites to pay by instalments when this is not necessary. It is proposed to require smaller amounts to be paid in one go and to only allow larger sums to be paid in instalments with the number of instalments increasing in proportion with the amount to be paid.

Cllr Paul Diviani, Chairman of Strategic Planning Committee, said:

The revised CIL charging schedule will put us in a much better position in delivering the services and facilities that it is vital that we deliver alongside new homes and jobs in the district to ensure that these developments are vibrant communities and not just housing estates. We want to provide vibrant and active places to live and work with a real community spirit but to deliver them we need funding and it is only right that the developers make an appropriate contribution towards this.

The agenda for Strategic Planning Committee can be found on the East Devon website.