Council to set up cash levy for developers

PUBLISHED: 14:27 30 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:27 30 June 2016

Copyright 2007 Maurice van der Velden

The council is looking to adopt a new levy to get more money from developers for things like roads, parks and play areas.

But some councillors warn the levy is still ‘woefully inadequate’ to meet the costs of vital new infrastructure.

North Somerset Council wants to set up a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a scheme adopted by several councils since it was brought in by Government in 2010.

It can be claimed alongside section 106 money, which is cash the council negotiates from developers for projects like playgrounds and community halls. However, CIL is different, because rates are set in advance and cannot be disputed or negotiated by the developer. The bigger the development, the more CIL the developer must pay.

The council then gets to decide how it should be spent, unlike s106 money which must go towards a specified project. The area where the development takes place automatically receives 15 per cent of the levy.

However, with North Somerset due to accommodate tens of thousands of new homes in coming years amid concerns over the impact on schools, roads and doctors, it has been questioned whether the new levy will do enough to help.

Cllr Chris Blades said: “I accept that it is good news getting more money out of developers but it is still woefully inadequate for what we need for our infrastructure.

“Unfortunately our hands are tied but the council has to lobby to try to get more money out of it.”

The council must publish a list of CIL-funded projects annually. If a project is funded through CIL, it cannot benefit from s106 money.

For example, leisure centres – which might lie in a parish with no large-scale development, yet serve a wide community – might be funded through CIL, while a play area might be funded by s106 because it is site-specific.

The council hopes to implement the levy next summer.

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