New housing charges in Suffolk Coastal will be put under microscope by examiner

Developers will have to pay a charge for every new home they build

Developers will have to pay a charge for every new home they build - Credit: Archant

Developers and other objectors will be able to have their say on proposals for new charges imposed for every new house built in Suffolk Coastal at an inquiry next month.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will replace current Section 106 legal agreements and councillors are hoping it will bring in around £80million over the next 15 years to help pay for the infrastructure needed to cope with the district’s growth.

The Planning Inspectorate has appointed Katie Child to conduct the CIL examination in public to look at the charges the council is proposing.

Consultation generated 31 responses from housing and commercial developers, parish and town councils, various bodies, and residents, and some of these will appear before the examiner on Thursday, March 19 at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew.

The examination – which will take the form of an informal round-the-table discussion rather than a traditional inquiry – will consider whether Suffolk Coastal’s CIL charging schedule is lawful and viable.

Developers will face three payment zones – in expensive property areas, such as Framlingham and Aldeburgh, they would pay £150 per sq metre for a housing project, while in the cheapest areas, such as Felixstowe and Leiston, it could drop to as little as £50 per sq metre.

The high, mid and low value zones broadly reflect land values and sale prices across the district. Charges are also proposed for convenience retail developments.

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Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “Government is clear that most new developments have an impact on the need for infrastructure, services and facilities and therefore developers are required to help fund the infrastructure that is needed to make their development acceptable and sustainable.

“The draft charging schedule provides a clear range of charges which are non-negotiable and charged on per square metre of new floor space created.

“The CIL charges have been set based on extensive viability evidence and the range of infrastructure required ensuring that the council strikes the appropriate balance between the cost of infrastructure required to support the development of the area and the potential effect the introduction of CIL would have on economic viability of development across the district.

“The CIL charges propose a high, mid and low value zones across the district for residential development which broadly reflect land values and sale prices.”

Money from the CIL could be used for a wide range of infrastructure – including highway improvements; library facilities; additional school places; health facilities; police, fire and ambulance infrastructure; leisure and community facilities; off-site open space; and flooding and coastal defence works.

After the hearing session, the examiner will prepare a report to the district council with conclusions and decisions as to the action it needs to take.

The report is not fully binding on the council but it should amend the document accordingly, moving swiftly to formal adoption.