Community Infrastructure Levy
What is Community infrastructure Levy (CIL)?
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge on development which was adopted by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) on the 1st April 2017. The funds collected by the SDNPA are then spent on infrastructure needed to support the growth (of the new developments) planned in the National Park. Some of this money is also directly paid to parishes in which the development occurred.
S106 and CIL – What’s the difference?
The new CIL charge aims to replace the majority of Section 106 legal agreements which are negotiated on a case by case basis. The SDNPA will still have Section 106 agreements but these will be primarily used to secure affordable housing and any site-specific works.
Exemptions from paying CIL
There are a number of ways in which developments can receive full exemption or partial relief from paying the CIL charge. Exemptions can be applied-for if the development is a self-build house, extension, or annexe. Social housing and developments under a charity can also be fully exempt from the CIL charge.
How is CIL spent by the Planning Authority?
CIL funds are spent on relevant infrastructure that is needed to support the local development of the area. The levy is to be spent by the authority on the provision of new infrastructure and not used to remedy pre-existing deficiencies unless those deficiencies will be made more severe by new development. The infrastructure the SDNPA will fund is pre-determined for the following year by the Infrastructure Business Plan (IBP). The IBP is generated alongside the Local Plan which identifies the most ‘needed’ infrastructure. The list is updated yearly setting out plans for expenditure in a 5-yr rolling programme.
The ‘relevant infrastructure’ list (referred to as the ‘Regulation 123’ list) states which infrastructure projects or types of infrastructure the SDNPA intends will be, or may be, wholly or partly funded by CIL and those to be funded by S106. These include strategic flood management, education provision, play areas, leisure infrastructure, and sustainable transport to name a few. The SDNPA’s Regulation 123 list can be found at https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/community-infrastructure-levy/spend/
Money paid to Parishes
The amount of CIL money each Parish Council receives from new development within their areas depends upon whether there is a Neighbourhood Plan in place, as set out in the CIL Regulations 2010 (as amended). Parish Councils with a “made” Neighbourhood Plan receive 25% of all the CIL funds collected from new development within their area. Those Parish Councils without a Neighbourhood Plan receive 15% and, in addition, their CIL funds are capped to £100 per council tax paying dwelling in a financial year. Parish Councils are required to keep records of payments received and how that money has been spent. If Parish Councils do not spend the CIL money within 5 years of receipt, or spend the money other than in accordance with prevailing regulations, the money must be refunded.
Lewes Town Council has a Neighbourhood Plan, which was adopted as policy (“made”) in 2019 and since then has received the uncapped 25% parish share of relevant CIL each year. Our statutory annual return to the SDNPA is available to view here.
What can a parish spend their portion of money on?
A Parish Council must use CIL money passed to it to support the development of the local council’s area, or any part of that area, by funding the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure. Examples of expenditure for parishes include the provision of a sports hall, play area, bus stop, or education provision. Parish funds can also be used for the provision of affordable housing, unlike the SDNPA’s portion of CIL funds which cannot be used in relation to affordable housing.
Lewes Neighbourhood Plan contains a section (s11 p146) outlining the community’s wishes for application of CIL funds, and the Council has decided to ask the public, in 2021, to help prioritize the projects listed there.