Scrutiny Committee is presented with a Cabinet report on CIL charging schedule, and is asked to give consideration to the documents, for comments to be given the Cabinet Member for Planning.
Cabinet member for Planning introduced this report.The charging schedule was developed from a working group and inspector opinion.
There was increased CIL charging opportunities as viability was varied. There were new charging zones, 1-3. Planning Infrastructure Team Leader and the Major Applications Team Leader were present to assist with questions.
A member commented that they were glad to see variable rates, they have risen which was good to cope with the new house building.
Clarification was wanted on the exemption of retirement homes in viability studies. Officers explained that the exemption was in zone 2. Independent living was charged, not care homes.
A member suggested inclusion of a table to show the change in CIL proposed, a comparison. Officers explained that we had an infrastructure funding gap, and we looked to contribute to closing the gap. The index values were from 2016 so out of date. Major Applications Team Leader had included figures on page 38 to show the percentage uplift.
On a conversation on sewage infrastructure – it was confirmed that this wasn’t directly related to CIL.
A member suggested whether social and affordable housing could be transferred to the housing delivery vehicle – officers explained that it was the decision of Council.
Overall members were pleased to see charging allocated to new categories of development. The cut off dates for charging would be after 3 January 2023, the new rate would apply on planning decisions taken on and after that date.
A discussion around Didcot and Berinsfield zone 2 – the exemptions were queried. Officers explained that the uplift on value of land was lower on brownfield sites. Flats over three storeys high were exempt too. CIL rate will be mandatory, and we cannot drop or add charges. Education can be included now too. The CIL system was protected by regulations and CIL team chase non-payment to ensure that developers pay the mandatory charge. There were staged payments also.
The committee’s main concern was around developments that were deemed non-liable for CIL. Members were concerned about potential loopholes that some developers could potentially find, in applying for a CIL non-liable development, and then later changing the plans to a CIL liable development. Committee were concerned with how the change was flagged so that a change from non-liable to liable could be captured and to start appropriate charging of CIL. It was commented that such warnings should be part of the document. The example given in debate was if a developer applied for planning permission for a care home (CIL exempt) and then applied for change of use/amendment to an independent living / retirement residential development (where the profit would be much higher due to high-cost apartments for sale).
Officer suggested the addition could be placed in footnotes, informatives or explanatory notes and suggested it was a minor change to examiner and shouldn’t need to be resubmitted but would need to check with the examiner to be certain. CIL payments to be made from the date of planning permission granted.
Recommendation to Council:
“If a CIL exempt development is at a later date subject to planning amendment or change of use, and becomes a CIL liable development, then the CIL monies must be paid.”