On a day where parliament is discussing BREXIT and appropriate measures for protecting the public from seagulls (and most planning commentators are analysing the Housing White Paper) I wanted to take a moment to talk about the CIL Review Panel report.
We have been waiting for this report for a very long time and, whilst my interest in CIL could easily be deemed to border on the obsessive, my own personal opinion is that it was definitely worth waiting for.
The overall conclusion will hardly come as a surprise to those of us who deal with CIL on a day to day basis. Namely that CIL in its current form simply does not work. In fact the regulations are criticised for being overly complex and unfit for purpose.
The report's key recommendations are for the entire system to be overhauled and replaced with a hybrid scheme which combines a very low level mandatory tariff and s.106 agreements for specific sites, with overarching strategic tariffs being permitted for combined authorities.
The precise wording is as follows:
We recommend that the Government should replace the Community Infrastructure Levy with a hybrid system of a broad and low level Local Infrastructure Tariff (LIT) and Section 106 for larger developments.
We recommend that Combined Authorities should be enabled to set up an additional Mayoral type Strategic Infrastructure Tariff (SIT)"
I strongly recommend reading the report in full. It is informative, well researched and very enlightening.
That said, whilst the report is encouraging, the Government's response to it in the Housing White Paper is not. The only reference is buried away in paragraph 2.29 on page 48.
This paragraph reads as follows:
"2.29 The independent review of CIL and its relationship with Section 106 planning obligations, published alongside this White Paper,48 found that the current system is not as fast, simple, certain or transparent as originally intended. The Government will examine the options for reforming the system of developer contributions including ensuring direct benefit for communities, and will respond to the independent review and make an announcement at Autumn Budget 2017. "
In short, the Government appears to recognise that substantial CIL reform is needed and the current system is not fit for purpose. However, we will not be given any details of how they propose to deal with these problems until the Autumn Budget - which is most likely to be published in November 2017.
Until then, we all have to grit our teeth and continue with the current 'broken' system....
The Community Infrastructure Levy came into force in April 2010 and allows local authorities to raise funds from owners or developers of land undertaking new building projects in their area, to help fund infrastructure. The government commissioned an independent review of the community infrastructure levy in November 2015 to assess the extent to which CIL does or can provide an effective mechanism for funding infrastructure, and to recommend changes that would improve its operation in support of the government’s wider housing and growth objectives. The independent review group submitted their report to ministers in October 2016. The review was informed by the research undertaken by Three Dragons / University of Reading... The research examined the amount of revenue CIL is raising, the types if development that are paying CIL, impacts on viability and the operation of the neighbourhood share.