New development tax ‘threatens viability’

Place North West, in association with PPS Group and Winckworth Sherwood, hosted a breakfast debate in Manchester about the impact of the Community Infrastructure Levy on development.

Among the guests at the breakfast, held in Room at 81 King Street, were senior representatives from Ainscough Strategic Land, Barratt Homes, Bloor Homes, Canmoor, Capital & Centric, Elan Homes, GVA, Time & Tide, Terrace Hill, Peel Land & Property and HOW Planning.

The debate began with brief introductions to the topic from Eric Ollerenshaw MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for Lancaster & Fleetwood; Susan Williams, executive director of Atlantic Gateway; and Colette McCormack, partner at law firm Winckworth Sherwood.

The debate then opened out to the floor. The following points were among those raised by guests about the government's new development tax, due to be introduced by some but not all local authorities opting into the regime in spring 2015:


  • CIL is yet another overhead on development
  • The cumulative impact of a range of measures introduced by government will clip the wings of recovery: empty building rates, code for sustainable homes, community infrastructure levy.
  • CIL is an inflexible regime that could result in development not happening
  • How old is the evidence used for setting CIL level? Challenge on valuation side after quiet few years in market, there isn't the transactional evidence out there to help set benchmark for development and tax
  • Affordable housing is being squeezed on big schemes because only so much money in the pot from a developer to make scheme viable, 'we will pay set amount of CIL but can't have all your affordable housing as well'
  • Developers will go where they can do business; if the level of CIL is too high in an authority they will not do business there
  • This is yet another example of the shifting sands of meeting planning consents and conditions
  • CIL was not meant to discourage development but was badly written. Was meant to replace section 106 but didn't so now we've got both. Adding to expense and having adverse effect on delivery


  • Without transparency over what Section 106 or CIL money is spent on local people will not equate development with the funding of infrastructure in their areas
  • CIL won't therefore provide an encouragement for communities to accept development but will remain just another tax on the landowner
  • Is it clear to community what CIL revenue will go on? Section 106 is clearer; link between project A and school B
  • Neighbourhood Plans; how are those groups currently planning for their community going to relate to CIL?
  • There is a sequencing issue; need CIL before a Neighbourhood Plan for people to understand what they can do
  • Developers need to engage in consultation stage to help shape policy and encourage local authorities to set CIL at a sensible level
  • Council officers say one thing to developers but councillors say another; agreeing payment with officers then members ask for more or reject agreement
  • Property community needs to feed issues into government and MPs otherwise they won't know what's happening on the ground

Response from councils

  • Different councils are taking different approaches, there is a patchwork treatment across the country, some are doing it, some not, some not decided, and…
  • …some have made own version of a levy up, such as Salford's smart pooling, neither CIL nor Section 106. Smart pooling in Salford will involve pooling five Section 106s together to spend on one project
  • Some local authorities could shine by not implementing CIL and marketing selves as zero rate boroughs
  • Multiple concessions: Councils are already asking for affordable homes quotas within CIL regimes
  • Kinds of things that would pass viability test with CIL added might not be the things a council wants to give planning consent to
  • Should have infrastructure plan first before worrying about how going to raise revenue. Local authorities should be clear about what their infrastructure plan is that the CIL regime would support if they plan to introduce CIL
  • If got a rating system why not use those business rates for infrastructure, health, education…?
  • If pay CIL and development in Old Trafford no guarantee won't be spent in Hale
  • Councils have to get better at planning ahead and implementing, if had administered S106 better we wouldn't have had CIL, maybe

Your Comments

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what does “viable” really mean for the big house builders? 15%-20% gross margin?

By gravy train

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