New rules around infrastructure cash, set to boost communities with up to £25m, will mean more developers will have to pay it – council boss
- Credit: Archant
Developers will have less room to wriggle out of investing in towns and villages with the introduction of a new infrastructure levy.
That was the view expressed at a Mid Suffolk District Council meeting by leader Derrick Haley.
Councillors asked for assurances that the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is expected to bring in up to £25million over 15 years for the district, would be more secure than the existing Section 106 agreements.
In recent months some proposed Section 106 agreements, which were worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and were included as part of planning applications for new developments, have been scaled back.
Developers argue they have to balance making sufficient profits with the council’s need to allocate money for areas like education, sports facilities and playing areas.
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Planning officer, Matt Deakin, said: “There are policies in place (with CIL) to make sure the conditions are met – it can go all the way to court in extreme cases.”
Councillors had concerns that CIL payments made in instalments instead of upfront could mean developers would avoid their obligations. Andrew Stringer, opposition leader and Green councillor, emphasized the importance of the council being kept informed when building work starts on a new development.
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He said: “The people who know most about sites where developments are due are the people who live there – they are the ones who want the community infrastructure.”
Mr Deakin said developers had to notify the council in writing if they were going to start the development – with enforcement powers available to stop any building work if the CIL payments were not up to date.
Mr Haley said: “The CIL payments give us more certainty and clarity in the future as before a Section 106 agreement could take hours and months to sort but this gives a clearer picture.
“There’s no ifs or buts, I think it’s a way forward that we are happy to move on with.”
In April next year the scope of Section 106 agreements will reduce, meaning councils are having to work quickly to endorse the new national CIL programme.
The council unanimously agreed to further develop the CIL scheme.