Agenda item

Gary Cowan asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:


Can you give a full explanation on how Wokingham Borough Council applies the Community Infrastructure Levy to Planning Applications?



Can you give a full explanation on how Wokingham Borough Council applies the Community Infrastructure Levy to Planning Applications?



CIL, Community Infrastructure Levy, is administered on the basis of a national set of regulations which have mandatory effect once adopted by the Council.  These were adopted on 6 April 2015. Wokingham’s discretionary element is the charge to be levied which was tested by an Independent Government Public Inquiry; as was the indicative infrastructure CIL spending list, which we know as the 123 list.


A full explanation of how CIL is administered in relation to planning applications in accordance with these regulations can be found in the Council’s ‘Community Infrastructure Levy Guidance for Applicants’ document on the website and I have sent you a link to that this evening.  Operationally Wokingham has the highest residential CIL rates outside of London. The Council’s detailed CIL rates are also set out in the link that I will send you.


But to put it in perspective the Council’s headline residential rate for CIL is £365 per square metre of net additional floorspace but when indexation is taken into account, as this was set 2½ years ago, the actual rate payable today is £405 per square metre of net additional floorspace. This equates to £40,500 for an average 100 square metre three bedroom house.  This is clearly very much higher than the contributions we were able to secure in the past.  However given the amount of development coming forward in the Borough it is not felt that this exceptionally high CIL rate is adversely impacting the viability of development.


I would just stress that CIL is only payable on applications granted after 6th April 2015 and you will be aware that a number of the SDL locations were covered by the original Section 106 arrangements.


100% relief is available from these charges if it is for social housing, self-build housing or charitable development for charitable purposes and the applicant simply needs to fill in the appropriate form to demonstrate how they meet the relief on this.


All of the CIL contributions collected are partially split between the Council and the towns and parish councils where the CIL money is accrued and that rate varies between 15-25%; dependent on whether the town or parish has actually got a local plan in place.


If current market conditions continue it is forecast that the Council will collect £75m in CIL contributions between this year and the end of the current Local Plan period in 2026 and as I have already mentioned between 15%-25% of that will be handed directly over to the town and parish councils where the development is taking place.


All the funds that are allocated are done through the Council’s budget setting process and recommendations for CIL allocations over the next 10 years will be made through the Council’s Capital Programme which goes to the Executive in February.


Supplementary Question

Have you looked at all the alternative options for the collection of CIL to ensure that how the Council is implementing it is the best possible way in line with the legislation?


Supplementary Answer

I fully understand the question Gary and thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify that.  We were one of the first adopters of CIL and I think we followed the broad Government guidelines.  I think subsequent to that some councils overlooked how it was being adopted and have found, shall we say, more imaginative ways of looking at that.  As you know David Lee and myself in particular are looking very much at the issues around five year land supply and this is one of the areas we are currently keeping under review. 


I would point out that if development is delayed of course that does not stop the infrastructure coming forward because the Council is very confident of the money coming forward.  Because frankly if a developer has planning permission to build 1,500 houses they are going to build 1,500 houses albeit it may not be at the rate that we would like them to build them.  The other thing, of course, is if they delay their CIL payments actually increase through indexation so that may actually work as a counter-productive thing for them.