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The Community Infrastructure Levy – what it could mean for green spaces Charles Routh Planning and Local Government, Wiltshire Natural England email@example.com The Community Infrastructure Levy – Background (1) • Government believes new development must contribute to mitigating the impacts which the wider community has to bear • Grappled with ways of doing this for a number of years – Optional Planning Charge, then Planning Gain Supplement and now Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) • CIL predicated on the fact that the value of land rises very substantially on grant of planning permission to develop • Clause placed in the Planning Bill which will empower local authorities to levy a proportion of this value uplift payable when the approved development actually starts • CIL will be optional and not compulsory, and unlike PGS it will provide a funding stream flowing direct to the local authority and ring-fenced to supporting infrastructure The Community Infrastructure Levy – Background (2) • Way forward for CIL announced by Housing Minister Yvette Cooper on 24th January 2008: “Councils who back plans for new homes will be able to raise hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on vital infrastructure like roads, schools, parks and health centres” • Will capture a contribution from small scale development which previously didn’t warrant a S106 • De minimis cut off point to exempt from CIL minor development, like house extensions • Simplify process for Local Planning Authorities • Clarify costs up front for developers • Speed up delivery of housing numbers • Enable sustainable communities The Community Infrastructure Levy – Process for Local Planning Authorities • authorities must plan the infrastructure needed to support development in their area • produce a draft charging schedule for consultation setting the rates the levy • set out final charging schedule for the levy - land owners and developers will then know from the LDF how much they will have to pay and what infrastructure the CIL is paying for • planning obligations (‘Section 106 agreements') will continue to operate alongside CIL and will deliver site-specific measures/infrastructure and affordable housing funding, complementing CIL which will serve the wider community • CLG consultation on detailed arrangements later in the year (2008) The Community Infrastructure Levy – what might it fund? • All about ‘unlocking’ development by helping provide the infrastructure without which it would be unsustainable • CIL is not just about transport and strategic infrastructure, although they are important. • Also about ensuring ‘quality of life elements’ in a neighbourhood are provided, maintained or improved when growth occurs • Covers adequate local facilities e.g. schools, parks, health centres, good public transport and provision for pedestrians and cyclists. • Also flood defences to protect development from the impact of climate change • Stops short of saying ‘green infrastructure’ but this is implied as Government proposes a wide definition for infrastructure encompassing social and environmental infrastructure, such as schools and parks. The Community Infrastructure Levy – what it could mean for green spaces (1) • Green space is therefore fair game for CIL but how do we secure delivery for natural environment objectives? • We don’t want sterile green spaces • We do want green infrastructure which functions ecologically and is managed to deliver multiple benefits • Most will be familiar with the green infrastructure multi- functionality concept – wildlife habitats, networks for species movement, space for health and recreation, water quality, sustainable drainage, tempering heat island effect • Will tend to be areas close to where development takes place – might miss the opportunities to expand more remote BAP habitats The Community Infrastructure Levy – Politics and evidence • How well the CIL delivers for the natural environment is essentially a political decision. • Direct political engagement • Need to get the community on board – this will be a consultative process e.g. need to argue the benefits of GI vs. a town by-pass • Wider political picture – Sustainable Community Strategy, Local Strategic Partnerships, Local Area Agreements may be influential in setting priorities and securing delivery • Vital for all the above to produce evidence of need, and costing of provision. • RSS requires Local Planning Authorities to produce a Green Infrastructure Strategy – potential evidence base • Natural England will be looking to work with partners to both garner political support for CIL to maximise benefits for the natural environment, and develop the evidence base and costing. The Community Infrastructure Levy – costings • Reality of competition between calls upon CIL • Limited pot of money - uplift from <£1k to around £100k per plot. CIL might take in the region of £25-50k. • Other sectors ahead – Swindon BC Transport Vision consultation is seeking £7.4k The Community Infrastructure Levy – Conclusion • Great opportunity to deliver natural environment objectives • Need to take action soon to make the most of this opportunity • Action includes activity around Green Infrastructure Strategy, Evidence of need, and the cost of provision.
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