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New CIL regulations will not deliver new homes, says law firm Winckworth Sherwood

Tue 22 Apr 2014

The Government’s changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 regime announced in February will not deliver new homes, a survey of developers has found.

Property Development law firm Winckworth Sherwood surveyed 140 house builders, social housing providers and other housing professionals who attended a seminar held by the firm earlier this month where the changes were outlined and their impact explained.

Delegates were asked whether the CIL charging schedules are generally fair and whether the changes to the regulations will substantially increase the number of new homes built in England. 

Sixty three per cent agreed that the charges set by local authorities are fair, but 75 per cent said that despite changes made by the Government the CIL regime will not result in more new homes.

Karen Cooksley, partner and head of planning law at Winckworth Sherwood, said: “That over 140 developers, house builders, social housing providers and other housing professionals in London and the South East attended this technical seminar is telling – it shows that the CIL regime is still regarded as complex and is not widely understood.

“The Government should find it disheartening that home builders do not believe the new CIL regulations will result in more new homes.  Local authorities can take some cheer however in that their charging schedules – where they exist – are seen as broadly fair, although this will increasingly be the subject of detailed scrutiny with councils needing to provide proper evidence to underpin their charges.”

Winckworth Sherwood then asked delegates whether local authorities should account for how CIL contributions are spent and if not used as prescribed whether they should be refunded.

Karen adds: “Almost all delegates – 88 per cent – agree that local authorities should clearly account for CIL expenditure.  There is a perception that CIL contributions are being swallowed by more general local authority expenditure, and not on rapid provision of those schemes specified.

“Many of those surveyed want local authorities to return CIL payments if not used as specified within a specified period.  Given the scale of the payments concerned that is seen as fair.  Councils should ‘use it or lose it’ in relation to money handed over to pay for infrastructure to support development.  The old S106 regime provides greater certainty, transparency and fairness.”

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