CIL – New Research Lays Bare Planning Cost
E3 Consulting analyse 2020/21 PINS CIL Decisions

Appeals to the Planning Inspectorate about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) are failing in seven out of ten cases, according to new research out today.

Community infrastructure levy: 70 per cent of appeals rejected

Property tax specialist E3 Consulting analysed every Planning Inspectorate judgement about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from January 2020 to July 2021.
The levy applies to developers who win planning permission and goes towards infrastructure such as roads, parks and GP surgeries.
Unlike the ‘Section 106’ agreements which it replaced, the levy is not negotiable and is set by the local council granting permission.
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Any exemption or relief – including for self-builders and developments under 100sqm – must be gained before work starts. E3 Consulting says this means many who would have been exempt miss out or incur penalties if they begin work without the paperwork in place.
E3’s managing director, Alun Oliver, said: “The 70 per cent failure rate uncovered in our findings is indicative of just how convoluted and confusing CIL is for many people.
“CIL is highly-procedural and over-complex, and a lack of understanding leads to time consuming and costly appeals which are largely doomed to failure.
“The process is very time sensitive but sadly a lot of situations lead to costly errors and for the vast majority of those costly errors, the opportunity for relief is lost forever.
“Once a spade has hit the ground and work has started on site it is incredibly difficult to gain any exemption or relief from the CIL charge or win a subsequent appeal. Often an appeal is a result of an emotional response to the perceived unfairness of CIL, as it is seemingly a heavy price to pay for relatively small administrative mistakes.
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“This response is common, however not useful, as retrospective action in CIL is fruitless and time-consuming.
“Developers and homeowners must be proactive from the very start with CIL or may rue the day they chose to put off dealing with CIL.”
The most common development type affected by the levy is residential, but many councils also apply it to other forms of property, including halls of residence, hotels, retail and offices.
It is a charge calculated per square metre of floorspace and applies to new developments exceeding 100sqm or creating one or more new dwellings – meaning many homeowners building extensions should be exempt as well as people building their own home.
The exemptions are not automatic and must be applied for before work begins.
E3 conducted its own set of research based on CIL Planning Inspectorate appeals on GOV.uk webpage.
Some 38 per cent of cases involved disputes over the start date of works. Overall, the majority of appeals – 39 out of 65 cases – were made on the basis that a breach did not occur, yet few had grounds or evidence to support their appeal.
E3 advises that any development is evidenced, with proof of postage for documents and photographs of progress on site, or better still emails and electronic receipts comprehensively filed and retained

National property tax specialists E3 Consulting analysed every Planning Inspectorate (PINS) appeal since January 2020 and found that the vast majority were upheld in favour of the local planning authority.

E3 – with offices in London, Southampton and Bournemouth – found that 65 appeals were made against local authority decisions regarding CIL. There was less than a 30 per cent success rate.

It has highlighted appeal cases which demonstrated the necessity of acting early, taking appropriate advice and keeping evidence to show that procedures have been complied with. 

Alun Oliver FRICS, managing director of E3 Consulting, said: “CIL is highly procedural and overcomplex.  “A lack of understanding leads to time consuming and costly appeals.  Often the appeals are made as an emotional response to the perceived unfairness of CIL, as it is seemingly a heavy price to pay for relatively small administrative mistakes.  This response is common however not useful as retrospective action in CIL is fruitless and time consuming.  Developers and homeowners must be proactive from the very start with CIL or may rue the day they chose to put off dealing with CIL!”

“CIL can be costly and can hugely increase the cost of a development.  Without expert knowledge it is easy to get lost in the procedural nature of CIL and miss out on key deadlines and documents.  Most importantly, all reliefs, exemptions, reviews or appeals must be concluded before work commences on site”

CIL was introduced through the Planning Act 2008 to replace Section 106 agreements in planning permissions England and Wales to fund vital infrastructure, such as roads, parks and GP surgeries. Coming into force in 2010, more than 70 local planning authorities have now adopted CIL.

However, unlike Section 106 agreements it is non-negotiable with applicants facing a set levy depending on the local authority’s own schedule – often differing for varying locations and planning use.  The most common development type affected by CIL is residential, but many councils also apply it other forms of property, including halls of residence, hotels, retail and offices. 

It is calculated per square metre of floorspace and applies to new developments exceeding 100 square metres or creating one or more new dwellings – meaning many homeowners building extensions should be exempt as well as with people building their own home.  Any exemptions or reliefs need to be gained prior to work starting.

E3 conducted its own set of research based on CIL appeals by the Planning Inspectorate on GOV.uk webpage.  Some 38 per cent of cases involved disputes over the start date of works.  Overall, the majority of appeals – 39 out of 65 cases – were made on the basis that a did not occur yet few had grounds or evidence to support their appeal.

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