From Clare Flowers MRTPI, Principal Planning Officer, Policy, Projects and Heritage Team
Dear LAT Chairs
Thank you for inviting me to come to your meeting on Wednesday.
I hope I passed on the message that we are at the beginning of a statutory process of bringing in a levy and the current consultation (on the consultation portal) is mainly focused on the proposed charging rates for new development and the zones for residential development charges. As voluntary bodies whose activities benefit the area we are consulting with you. The consultation ends on 10 December.
Consultation on the proposed charges in your area
To find out what proposed zone your area is in see the maps on page 12 – 14 of the Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule. To find out what the proposed charge is for new residential development in your zone see page 7 of the same document (it will either be £175; £150 or £75 per square metre of new residential development). There is a minimum of 100sq m of residential development allowed before a CIL charge is applied so this does not usually affect household extensions. New units created which are under 100sq m will also be charged for, unless they are self-build or affordable housing units. If you have any comments on this document including the zones or charges then please let us know through the consultation portal. You will see that there are also proposed citywide charges for new purpose built student accommodation and retail.
We talked about the neighbourhood portion of the levy which will only be available once the Levy is in place and has been collected for at least 6 months. Please see the timetable for CIL at the bottom of this email.
In localities without a parish/town council this is what the government says about the neighbourhood portion:
‘Communities without a parish, town or community council will still benefit from the 15% neighbourhood portion (or 25% portion, if a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order has been made). If there is no parish, town or community council, the charging authority (in our case Brighton & Hove City Council will be the charging authority) will retain the levy receipts but should engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding. Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools eg website, newsletters, etc. The use of neighbourhood funds should therefore match priorities expressed by local communities, including priorities set out formally in neighbourhood plans.
The government does not prescribe a specific process for agreeing how the neighbourhood portion should be spent. Charging authorities should use existing community consultation and engagement processes. This should include working with any designated neighbourhood forums preparing neighbourhood plans that exist in the area, theme specific neighbourhood groups, local businesses (particularly those working on business led neighbourhood plans), and using networks that ward councillors use. Crucially this consultation should be at the neighbourhood level It should be proportionate to the level of levy receipts and the scale of the proposed development to which the neighbourhood funding relates.
Where the charging authority retains the neighbourhood funding, they can use those funds on the wider range of spending that are open to local councils (see ‘Can the levy be used to deliver Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace?’, and regulation 59C). In deciding what to spend the neighbourhood portion on, the charging authority and communities should consider such issues as the phasing of development, the costs of different projects (eg a new road, a new school), the prioritisation, delivery and phasing of projects, the amount of the levy that is expected to be retained in this way and the importance of certain projects for delivering development that the area needs. Where a neighbourhood plan has been made, the charging authority and communities should consider how the neighbourhood portion can be used to deliver the infrastructure identified in the neighbourhood plan as required to address the demands of development. They should also have regard to the infrastructure needs of the wider area. The charging authority and communities may also wish to consider appropriate linkages to the growth plans for the area and how neighbourhood levy spending might support these objectives.’
(The above paragraph can be found using the following link to government guidance about spending Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-infrastructure-levy#spending-the-levy. This is the link I said I would supply you with at Wednesday’s meeting.)
In non-parished areas, the City Council will hold the funds, but will work with the local community to decide how to spend the money using the above government guidance including ‘priorities set out formally in neighbourhood plans’
Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Planning
We also discussed definitions of neighbourhood. Neighbourhood areas and neighbourhood forums are part of a national programme of neighbourhood planning – a way for local groups to take a lead on planning for the future of their area. In our city we have 4 Neighbourhood Areas. Please click through to the following link for more information about neighbourhood planning in Brighton & Hove:
Here is the timetable for introducing Community Infrastructure Levy:
||Publish Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule for eight week consultation following Committee resolution
||Following committee resolution, publish for consultation:
- Draft Charging Schedule (revised following PDCS consultation);
- Proposed draft annex update to Developer Contributions Technical Guidance intended to operate alongside a CIL Charging Schedule; and
- Draft CIL Regulation 123 List to identify infrastructure eligible for CIL spending
||Examination of Draft Charging Schedule and supporting documents
||Adopt CIL charging Schedule following a resolution of Full Council
To conclude, we are not at the stage in the process where there are many concrete answers to specific questions that may arise around the neighbourhood portion.
Like many regulated systems CIL will take a couple of years to bring forward and the amount to be returned back to each neighbourhood is still unclear. For example the proposed charging schedule amounts may be changed as a result of the consultations or by the planning inspector who oversees the examination in public; the local portion returned will be dependent on how much development actually occurs within that area; neighbourhoods may decide to come together and form new neighbourhood areas or forums and create a Neighbourhood Plan; and work is required to understand what local infrastructure communities will prioritise in relation to the sums provided.
I hope this goes some way to make the issues clearer.
Clare Flowers MRTPI
Principal Planning Officer
Policy, Projects and Heritage Team
City Development and Regeneration
Brighton & Hove City Council
Tel: 01273 290443
Please note that this is an informal officer opinion only and does not prejudice the decision of the Local Planning Authority on any future planning resolution.