Planning levy could raise £24 million for Calderdale to build or upgrade roads, schools, parks and more

New charge: Levy should raise cash to cover extra Calderdale infrastructure costs
New charge: Levy should raise cash to cover extra Calderdale infrastructure costs

A new charge levied on developers might raise more than £24 million towards costs of new roads, expanding schools and places of leisure over the life of the new Local Plan, councillors have been told.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet approved a draft charging schedule for a Community Infrastructure Levy which will see developers pay sums of money towards infrastructure costs created by new home building in the borough. These could include, for example, new road schemes, a school extension or improvements to a local park.

Until April 2015, Section 106 agreements were imposed by the council to cover infrastructure costs but these had to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Section 106 agreements can still be used in a few specific circumstances, including affordable housing developments or to cover the cost of site-specific matters to make a development acceptable in planning terms. Government has reaffirmed CILs will form a major part of infrastructure planning, considering the levy a fairer and more transparent way of funding additions or improvements which need to be made.

Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Coun Dan Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said of CILs: “It’s a shift away from Section 106 which was very much based on negotiation with developers. This is more of a flat tax, effectively.”

Comparing figures of how much Section 106 agreements brought into the coffers since 2001 against projections of what might be raised by CIL over life of the Local Plan, which will run to 2032, it is likely to be around £18 million better off.

Since 2001 overall receipts from Section 106 agreements brought in £6,700,073 for the council but a whopping £24,469,500 could be brought in from CIL, levied on residential and retailing developments.

The latter figure is only illustrative and will be less than this as a result of exemptions and distribution of development, but they do indicate a bigger benefit.

The draft charging schedule for CILs will have to be approved by the full Calderdale Council and it will go out to further consultation for six weeks alongside the Local Plan. Like the Local Plan, if councillors approve the CIL proposals, government inspectors could amend them but, said Coun Sutherland, “this should provide a significant contribution towards strategic infrastructure we need to bring forward development.”