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The Government delivered an early Christmas present to anyone involved in planning on 20th December in the form of proposed amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 ("Regulations"). These are the seventh set of amendments to the Regulations in its relatively short life, emphasising just how problematic the Regulations have proved to be for everyone who encounters them.

In the words of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the amendments are being proposed to “reduce complexity…increase certainty for local authorities, developers and communities…support swifter development…and increase transparency”. You would be right in thinking we’ve heard this Government rhetoric before, but these changes may actually achieve this, or at least meaningfully contribute to doing so.

What are the proposed changes?

  1. Removing the “pooling restriction” – allowing Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to seek more than 5 s106 contributions to fund a single infrastructure project.
  2. Abatement – for phased developments permitted prior to the adoption of CIL, amendments will now allow for a negative CIL liability in one phase of development to be offset against liability in another phase.
  3. Indexation on s73 applications – meaning any increase in CIL liability due to indexation on a s73 permission will only apply to the change in floorspace between the original permission and the s73 permission.
  4. Monitoring Fees – Councils will be permitted to seek monitoring fees in s106 agreements (there has been a question as to their lawfulness since a High Court ruling in 2015).
  5. Infrastructure Funding Statements (IFS) to replace CIL Reg 123 Lists – an IFS will set out what developer contributions are being spent on and what they are proposed to be spent on.
  6. Changes to the penalty for failure to serve a CIL commencement notice for self-build and residential extension projects – a financial penalty of up to £2,500 will apply for failure to serve a commencement notice, rather than the total loss of the exemption to pay CIL - finally getting rid of the disproportionate penalty for those who it was intended should be exempt from CIL.

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