Council confirms introduction of new housing charge

Housebuilding 4

A levy on new homes and property sites, which will be payable once new developments start construction, will be in place in the borough by 1st March.

The funds raised will be used to help fund new community facilities and infrastructure - such as roads, schools and medical facilities.

The community infrastructure levy (CIL), approved by Cheshire East's full council allows the authority to charge developers and landowners additional fees, according to floor space and areas of the borough in which the developments are taking place.

The framework for the CIL sees the borough broken up into a number of charging zones. There are five zones altogether, ranging from zero to £71 per square metre.

The draft charging schedule divided Cheshire East into five charging zones ranging from a zero rate in many built-up areas through to £168 per square metre. The highest rate of £168 per square metre was proposed for the following Local Plan sites: land between Sagars Road and Clay Lane in Handforth, Royal London including land west of Alderley Road, Land at Little Stanneylands, Heathfield Farm and Alderley Park.

However, examiner Nigel Payne, who reviewed he Council's draft framework for the scheme, recommended that the residential rate in Zone 5 was reduced from £168 psm to the Zone 4 level of £71 psm and the rate for apartments across the whole borough was reduced to zero.

Initially Cheshire East Council had also allocated a zero rate for the North Cheshire Growth Village at Handforth, which is bordered by the A34 to the west and the A555 (Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road) to the north. Subject to receiving planning approval, the new village will provide 1,675 new residential properties.

Handforth Parish Council objected to Cheshire East Council's proposal for a zero rate for the North Cheshire Growth Village, which would have meant that they would have seen no benefit in relation to this development from the new planning charge and would result in them losing £2m.

Examiner Nigel Payne disagreed with CEC and proposed that the Zone 4 rate of £71 per square metre is applied to the Handforth Garden Village site on the basis that it would be reasonable to conclude that the scheme is capable of supporting a CIL charge in common with many other large strategic sites in this part of Cheshire East.

The CIL fund, which can be used anywhere in the borough, will not replace section106 agreements, by which developers make a contribution to the local authority to finance infrastructure projects directly related to the local impact of a development.

Where a charge is levied, parishes will receive 15 per cent of the funding and 25 per cent where a neighbourhood plan is in place. The balance will go into a fund to be used by the council for infrastructure projects across the borough to support development, wherever the location.

In Cheshire East, charges will apply to residential development and retail parks at Handforth Dean and Grand Junction in Crewe. Office and industrial space will be exempt as will brownfield sites. Exemptions also extend to some charitable development, some social housing, developments classed as 'self-build' and empty buildings brought back into use.

The council's final charging schedule contains a list of examples of where funds could be invested, including various highways schemes, some town centre projects, pedestrian, cycle and bus facilities, recreation and sports amenities.

An average 100sq metre new home could generate as much as £7,100 towards the fund. The approved CIL will apply to 93 per cent of the borough and is expected to continue through to 2030 – the lifespan of the current local plan.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: "The council's charging schedule for CIL went through a rigorous public examination before an independent examiner who, with one or two amendments, endorsed the zones and charges the council proposed.

"We are pleased that council has approved this and recognised the enormous benefits the community infrastructure levy will bring to our communities."

Cheshire East Council's local development plan envisages the creation of 36,000 homes and 380 hectares of employment land up to 2030, accompanied by new or improved highways and additional schools, health and leisure provision.

Cheshire East Council, Community Infrastructure Levy


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Roger Thawley
Wednesday 27th February 2019 at 5:39 pm
....thus pushing up housing costs further still.
Alan Brough
Thursday 28th February 2019 at 10:08 am
So all of the development that has been passed to date has been built without any consideration or provision made to its impact on local services and infrastructure?

How will we pay for the new schools, hospitals, libraries, leisure centres, doctors surgeries, roads, train and bus stations that will become urgent necessities once CE have created Wilmslopolis?
Pete Taylor
Friday 1st March 2019 at 4:59 pm
Am I reading this correctly? CEC proposed to "zero rate" 1675 new homes (why?) this would have generated (assuming the quoted 100 M Sq average per home) £11,892,500 for the Borough finances. Why did they evidently have to be forced into this by the Independent Examiner? What reasoning could they possibly have had?

This whole development has had a stink of rotten fish for many years.

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