Cheshire East Council has launched a consultation on a proposed planning levy to help fund new community facilities and infrastructure.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be payable once new developments start construction and is calculated per square metre of eligible floor space.
The CIL would complement the long-established system of section 106 agreements, whereby developers are required to help fund supporting infrastructure, such as roads, schools and medical facilities.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: "Our borough is growing and we want to ensure that sufficient funding is in place to pay for new community facilities – the roads, schools and recreational spaces that residents will need in future.
"The Community Infrastructure Levy provides a fair and consistent method of funding, especially for large, strategic projects. As this is a new venture for the council, we are keen to engage with all stakeholders with an interest in new developments to ensure we set the right rates for the different parts of our borough."
The CIL consultation sets out the various charging rates that would apply for new development, alongside different charging zones throughout the borough. These zones are based on the costs and viability of new development rather than the cost of new infrastructure.
The draft charging schedule divides Cheshire East into five charging zones for residential development – ranging from a zero rate in many built-up areas to £88 (per square metre) in the built up areas of Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Mobberley, Prestbury, Poynton and Wilmslow through to £168 (per square metre) in Greenfield areas to the north of the Borough.
Parishes where development takes places will receive their own portion of CIL to spend on infrastructure. In areas where there is no Neighbourhood Plan this will be 15%, capped at £100 per existing dwelling to be spent on local priorities. Where a Neighbourhood Plan is in place the portion increases to 25% uncapped as a government incentive to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.
Business development and new shops will be zero rated, apart from developments in the prime retail areas of Handforth Dean and the Grand Junction Retail Park, in Crewe. Additionally, houses, flats, residential annexes and residential extensions which are built by 'self builders' will not pay CIL.
The consultation runs for six weeks from Monday, February 27th until April 10th. Full details can be found via the council's website.
Once the consultation feedback has been collated, a final decision on the levy will be taken at a cabinet meeting.