CALDERDALE COUNCIL: Planning levy could raise £24 million

Houses being built in West Yorkshire.
Houses being built in West Yorkshire.

A new charge levied on developers might raise more than £24 million towards costs of new roads, expanding schools and places of leisure over the life of the new Local Plan, councillors have been told.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet approved a draft charging schedule for a Community Infrastructure Levy which will see developers pay sums of money towards infrastructure costs created by new home building in the borough.

These could include, for example, new road schemes, a school extension or improvements to a local park.

Until April 2015, Section 106 agreements were usually imposed by the council to cover infrastructure costs but these had to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Section 106 agreements can be used in a few specific circumstances, including affordable housing developments or to cover the cost of site-specific matters to make a development acceptable in planning terms.

But Government has now reaffirmed CILs will form a major part of infrastructure planning and considers the levy a fairer and more transparent way of funding additions or improvements which need to be made.

Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Coun Dan Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said of CILs: “It’s a shift away from Section 106 which was very much based on negotiation with developers. This is more of a flat tax, effectively.”

Comparing figures of how much Section 106 agreements brought into the council’s coffers since 2001 against projections of what might be raised by CIL over the 15-year life of the Local Plan, which will run to 2032, it is likley around £18 million better off.

Since 2001 overall receipts from Section 106 agreements brought in £6,700,073 for the council but a whopping £24,469,500 could be brought in from CIL, levied on residential and retailing developments.

The latter figure is only illustrative and will be less than this as a result of exemptions and distribution of development, but they do indicate a bigger benefit.

The draft charging schedule for CILs will have to be approved by the full Calderdale Council and it will go out to further consultation for six weeks alongside the Local Plan.

Some consultation took place in 2015 among some affected parties who raised some concerns about specific details or gave the proposals support.

At an Extraordinary Council meeting at Halifax Town Hall next Thursday (June 21, 6pm) councillors will meet to approve or reject the Local Plan, which sets out where the borough’s housing and business needs might be met up to 2032.

Like the Local Plan, if councillors give the green light to the CIL proposals, government inspectors could amend them but, said Coun Sutherland, “this should provide a significant contribution towards strategic infrastructure we need to bring forward development.”

Cabinet this week recommended to Extraordinary Council that the draft Local Plan should be published at 9am on Friday, August 10, and are asking councillors to approve a six week period when it will be possible to make formal representations, or comments, on the plan following its publication.

This period for representations will close at 5pm on Monday, September 24.