The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge on new development which local authorities can introduce to help fund the infrastructure needed to support development. It takes the form of a charge applied to floorspace, as measured in square metres (sqm). CIL was introduced by the Planning Act 2008 and is governed by the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended).
CIL has been introduced to ensure that new development contributes to meeting the infrastructural demands it generates. Some of the financial benefit resulting from granting planning permission are shared with the community. The tariff-based approach has also been chosen in order to provide greater transparency and clarity as to what level of developer contributions will be required.
It is estimated that in Crawley, between 2016 and 2030 CIL could raise up to £9 million, which would be a significant contribution towards meeting an infrastructure funding gap of over £118 million. CIL income will be used in particular to fund infrastructure projects which serve multiple developments within Crawley, such as significant transport schemes, community facilities, and environmental improvements.
As the CIL collecting authority the council has the ability to spend its CIL income as it chooses. This can include sharing or pooling income with other stakeholders, as long as the money is used for strategic infrastructure projects which support development within the borough. 15% of the money raised by CIL (or 25% in areas with a Neighbourhood Plan) will be allocated to the local neighbourhoods in which development takes place so that they can decide on which projects best support development. This neighbourhood proportion can involve local communities in deciding how to allocate money, and can also be used towards key strategic infrastructure.
The ‘infrastructure gap’ represents the costs of the infrastructure estimated to be required to support development in Crawley by 2030 (in line with the adopted Local Plan), minus funding which has already been allocated to Crawley’s infrastructure need from other sources. A funding gap must exist before CIL can be adopted. This has been agreed by a Government Inspector and Crawley can now introduce CIL.
Partly, but not entirely. The introduction of legal powers to charge CIL has been accompanied by greater restrictions on the use of planning obligations to provide infrastructure. Planning obligations must now legally meet the tests of being necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms; directly related to the development; and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. The intention is that therefore that CIL will support large scale strategic infrastructure while planning obligations will be used mainly for site-specific mitigation of the impact of a specific development, including the provision of affordable housing, which is explicitly excluded from being funded by CIL.
From 2020 all councils are required to publish an annual Infrastructure Funding Statement, which will include details of recent and intended future use of CIL and section 106 contributions.
In Crawley, CIL only applies to residential development or retail development. For residential development involving the creation of additional 100 sqm of floorspace (net), or one or more dwellings, even if the total floor space is less than 100 sqm. For retail developments A1-A5, a charge of £50 per sqm is required. For food supermarkets (A1) if less than 150sqm then a charge of £100 per sqm or for over 3000sqm a charge of £150 per sqm has been agreed. These rates are subject to indexation each calendar year, starting in 2016, when CIL was adopted.
Even within these categories, however, exemptions and reliefs are available to development by charitable institutions, self-builders, residential annexes or extensions, and affordable housing.
Also, development in the ‘Airport Zone’ or airport boundary will not be subject to CIL. Elsewhere within the borough, developments which are not used for residential or retail purposes are ‘zero rated’, meaning that no CIL is chargeable.
CIL is charged on Gross Internal Area (GIA). For the purposes of CIL in Crawley this will be calculated in accordance with the RICS Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition. This defines GIA as the area of a building falling within the perimeter walls, with the following inclusions and exclusions:
Included in GIA:
- Areas occupied by internal walls and partitions
- Columns, piers, chimney breasts, stairwells, lift-wells, other internal projections, vertical ducts, and the like
- Atria and entrance halls, with clear height above, measured at base level only
- Internal open-sided balconies, walkways and the like
- Structural, raked or stepped floors – to be treated as a floor level measured horizontally
- Horizontal floors, with permanent access, below structural, raked or stepped floors
- Corridors of a permanent essential nature (e.g. fire corridors, smoke lobbies)
- Mezzanine floor areas with permanent access
- Lift rooms, plant rooms, fuel stores, tank rooms which are housed in a covered structure of a permanent nature, whether or not above the main roof level
- Service accommodation such as toilets, toilet lobbies, bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, cleaners’ rooms, and the like
- Projection rooms
- Voids over stairwells and lift shafts on upper floors
- Loading bays
- Areas with headroom of less than 1.5m
- Pavement vaults
Not included in GIA:
- Perimeter wall thicknesses and external projections
- External open-sided balconies, covered ways and fire escapes
- Voids over structural, raked or stepped floors
- Greenhouses, garden stores, fuel stores and the like in residential property
The Crawley CIL charges have been set through following the procedure set out in the CIL regulations. The requirement for infrastructure funding has been demonstrated, and the charges have been arrived at through a process of viability testing, consultation, examination by a government inspector, and formal adoption by the council.
A number of rights of appeal against CIL charges exist in relation to the way in which a charge is calculated, or if a relief or exemption is not applied. Once a charging schedule is approved and in force, however, it is not possible to appeal against the rates themselves.