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Council could charge retail developers Community Infrastructure Levy

Cheshire East Council will progress with proposals to introduce a new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for some retail developments in 2019.

The local authority’s draft framework for the scheme is said to have been ‘substantially approved’ in an examiner’s review, with minor amendments to reduce some of the rates being made.

The CIL would empower the council to make a charge per square metre on developers building houses and commercial property in the borough, with charges varying according to the zone the development is taking place within.

A decision as to whether the CIL will be adopted is to be made during a full council meeting in February 2019.

If given the go-ahead, the CIL would operate in tandem with Section 106 developer funding, which sees developers make contributions from large-scale housing schemes to fund infrastructure and other needs.

According to Cheshire East Council, up to 25% of CIL receipts would go directly to town and parish councils from developments in their area.

Some areas predominantly containing brownfield sites, such as built up areas of Crewe, Congleton, Macclesfield and Sandbach, wouldn’t incur a CIL charge as the previously built on land is more costly to develop due to clean-up works, demolition and decontamination.

Meanwhile new greenfield housing allocations on the outskirts of those towns would attract a charge through the initiative.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, says: “I am pleased that the examiner’s conclusions enable us to progress with proposals to introduce the CIL in the New Year.

“As stated in our opening remarks at the public hearings, we have a positive approach to delivering sustainable development and the economic growth that brings and CIL would bring with it further benefit to our communities in the borough.”

The council’s Local Plan includes the provision of an additional 36,000 homes and 380 hectares of employment land before 2030.

It’s estimated that the CIL could generate £30-35 million over the next 11 years, alongside developer contributions under Section 106.