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Watts Bulletin (Issue 140)

Welcome to the May issue of the Watts Bulletin, in which we round up some of the key stories from the construction and property sector during the last month. We take a look at proposed amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy, whereby local authorities could now be given another 12 months beyond the existing timeframe within which to set their charging schedules – good news for those councils who have yet to finalise the details.

Not such good news for homeowners investing in green technologies, as a further delay to the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive was announced this month. Nor will homeowners living in areas with a high risk of flooding be pleased by the fact that from the end of June flooding will become an uninsurable risk – unless progress is made on a new Statement of Principles between the government and the Association of British Insurers.

On a brighter note, two new contracts have been launched. One is set to improve the fair payment regime within NEC3 contracts and the other, published by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), deals with complex projects, giving such schemes a robust framework within which all parties can work for the first time.

Watts Bulletin (Issue 140)

All change for CIL - again

Under new proposals outlined in a consultation launched last month, local authorities could be given until April 2015 to finalise their Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedules.

May Bulletin Main 13

The consultation, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), proposed a number of further amendments to CIL legislation in response to concerns raised by developers since the initiative was introduced in 2010. There have already been three different sets of amendments to the CIL Regulations but the government accepts that further refinement is needed to ensure the levy works effectively for both the property industry and local communities.

The consultation mainly dealt with changes needed to clarify Part 11 of the Regulations, which restricts the use of planning obligations agreed under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It also sought views on further regulatory reform.

Key proposals included allowing ‘payments in kind’, whereby developers would be able to provide either on-or off-site infrastructure in return for a discount on their CIL liability. Plans were also outlined to remove the ‘vacancy test’, to secure exemptions from CIL liability. At present, the CIL Regulations state that developers can claim exemption for the levy on buildings that are being redeveloped where they can prove the building has been empty for at least six of the previous 12 months. However, a proposed amendment would remove this requirement - so long as the property’s planned use has not been “abandoned”.

Other proposed changes include:

  • Charging authorities to demonstrate they have struck a balance between using the levy to fund infrastructure and the effects of the levy on economic viability of development;
  • Extending the provisions for phasing of levy payments to all types of planning permission to deal more fairly with complex developments;
  • Introducing CIL relief for self-build schemes; and
  • Introducing transitional measures so that changes related to the charge setting process will not apply to authorities which have already published draft charges.

For more on the consultation go to www.gov.uk or www.communities.gov.uk

To find out more about the CIL, contact Daniel Webb, Director at Watts Group PLC, on 020 7280 8078.

Are you satisfied with this latest bout of CIL proposals or would you like to see further amendments? Let us know your thoughts on Watts’ Twitter page or join the Watts Bulletin group on LinkedIn.

Watts Pocket Handbook

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.

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