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Views Wanted on Plans For More Cash From Building in Selby District

Selby District Council

11:54am 20th January 2014

People in Selby district are being asked for their views on plans for a second charge on developers which will allow major new roads to be built to cope with the pressure of lots of small developments.

The proposed new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will run alongside the existing Section 106 (S106) arrangements, which are used to compensate neighbourhoods for more local issues caused by new developments.The district council is asking people in the area where they want the money to be spent.

Developers face a new charge of £25/sqm on new housing in the south of the District, and £45/sqm in the north.  This means a 'typical' cost of between £2,500 and £5,400 per new house built.  Supermarkets will pay £110/sqm, which means a small budget supermarket may typically pay £130,000.  The rates are based on a detailed analysis of costs and sales values that recent development has achieved. 

Cllr Mark Crane, Leader of the Council said: "The District has seen a lot of housing development over the years, but this has not always been matched by supporting infrastructure improvements.  It's not a bleak picture, we've benefitted greatly from the Selby bypass and motorway upgrade to the A1, flood defences have been installed, broadband is being installed, schools have been commissioned, we have our fantastic new hospital, and the new leisure centre is under way.  

"But there are still a great many areas where infrastructure is feeling the pressure, and if we are to accommodate the quantity of development set out in our new Core Strategy, we need to address those pressures.  This costs money of course, and in these times of austerity, the Council has not got the resources to intervene.  It's a similar story with our partners and Government agencies - there is not a lot of money going round."

"However, the planning system can intervene because it is only fair that the new development that adds these pressures to our infrastructure pays its own way.  In the past the Council has negotiated with developers for so-called Section 106 agreements.  These payments contribute towards infrastructure, but are very variable in value.  This new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) addresses that by setting out a standard charge per square metre that development must pay.  It's fairer, simpler and faster."

Councillor Cliff Lunn, the Lead Member for Finance and Resources said "The two zones are based on evidence of financial activity, and do not reflect the qualities of the wards.  The CIL is not a policy tool to direct development - that's the job of the Core Strategy - so we won't see a reduction in building in the north or additional pressure in the south - that's not how it works in practice.  Instead, the CIL sets out the reasonable amount new buildings can afford to pay out of the profits from sale. It is simply that there is more profitability in the north, so they can afford a greater contribution."

"I was initially worried that the CIL charges would simply be added on to the price of a house making it even harder to get on to the property ladder, or that the charge on employment development would deter investment in jobs.  However the experiences of other Councils that have already got a CIL in place shows that this is not the case.  Instead, the value of land is reduced to free up capital to pay the CIL charge, and this in turn actually stimulates growth.  Overall, the CIL is taxing the profits of the land owners in the community benefit, and that has to be seen as a positive thing."

A spokeswoman for the Council said "The S106 system is aimed at very localised improvements, and in many cases will still apply to new buildings.  But the cumulative effect of lots of individual developments is not captured.  For example, traffic increases from 10 houses in a village is relatively easily absorbed, but twenty or thirty of these smaller development have a much bigger impact on the main roads when all the traffic converges in the morning rush hour.  The new CIL can collect money to make improvements to these so-called Strategic infrastructure pressures.  It's a very positive step to help support the Programme for Growth."

The spokeswoman continued: "The spending priorities are not yet set.  We know there are a lot of areas that need financial assistance and we can't fund them all.  We would like people's thoughts on where we could make the biggest impact with the anticipated £12million we hope to raise through CIL."

Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Lead Member for Communities said "The biggest winners in this are the communities that embrace development as a positive thing.  Fifteen percent of the money raised will be handed to the Parish or Town Council to spend as they deem appropriate.  That's £375 per typical house in the south and £810 in the north.  It's a huge injection of cash to local communities that can have incredibly positive results in the form of grants, maintenance, and capital expenditure on things that really matter to local people."

The CIL consultation begins on 14 January and ends on 28 February.  For more information and to take part, visit your local library, the Access Selby customer contract centre in Selby, or http://www.selby.gov.uk/CIL


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