CIL launches in Leeds

Developers in Leeds are being reminded about the introduction of the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in the city by the Leeds Property Forum.

From Monday April 6 the levy applies to new developments in the city when national changes to the existing regulations came into force.

The levy will collect contributions from developers to local infrastructure facilities such as transport and green space.

The Leeds Property Forum has been influential in seeking to ensure that the CIL rates are set at a level that should not prove as a deterrent to the city’s economic recovery or its competiveness with other UK core cities.

Richard Serra, director at planning consultancy Quod and CIL spokesman for the Leeds Property Forum said: “April 6 is an important day in the tax calendar and it is also the day this year that the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) came to Leeds. Leeds City Council is the 30th local authority nationally to adopt a CIL in its area and the first across Yorkshire and the Humber to do so.

“As a Labour initiative originally, CIL is likely to be here to stay irrespective of the outcome of the General Election on May 7. Whether it will generate enough revenue to enable Leeds City Council to deliver the city’s growth infrastructure remains to be seen and there will be discussions subsequently around where and how CIL revenues are spent. In the meantime, landowners and developers need to familiarise themselves with an important new component of the planning system.”

Essentially, CIL is a fixed levy on nearly all forms of new development. CIL rates will range from £90 sq m for housing development in North Leeds to £5 sq m in the city centre.

New supermarket development above 500m2 will be levied at £110 sq m within the city centre and at £175 sq m outside the city centre.  Non-food retail development above 1,000m2 will be similarly charged at £35/m2 and £55/m2.  New office development in the city centre will be charged at £35 sq m.

With the exception of education, medical, sports and leisure, charitable and publicly funded development, all other uses will be levied at £5 sq m.

Mr Serra said that CIL replaces most, but not all, of the current S.106 planning obligations regime, which will continue to deliver affordable housing and site-specific items.

He added: “CIL will be levied on net additional floor area and so in many cases, existing floor space on a site can be deducted to reduce liability.  Landowners and developers will need to bear this in mind when acquiring or preparing sites for development. Leeds City Council has also chosen to include provisions for payment by instalment and an exceptional circumstances policy, which in certain very specific circumstances where there is a high S.106 cost, may provide relief from CIL.  Developers and landowners can also make payments-in-kind in the form of land or infrastructure under certain circumstances.

“The money raised from CIL will be used to fund the infrastructure that will be necessary to support the city’s growth, for example NGT, the Flood Alleviation Scheme, primary and secondary education, green infrastructure, sports facilities, district heating, and public health facilities.”