E3 goes to top with calls for planning re-think

Property tax specialists based in Dorset have warned the Levelling Up Secretary against ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ in radical planning reforms.

Community infrastructure levy

E3 Consulting has cautioned that the proposed changes to payments from developers for infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries could paralyse the planning system, create delays and hit housing numbers.

Managing Director Alun Oliver has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Simon Clarke MP warning that a new regime could set the system back a decade.

His ‘very serious concerns’ came as the government’s flagship Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill returns to Parliament for its committee and report stages.

It includes proposals to replace Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments with a new Infrastructure Levy (IL), apart from Greater London and Wales.

Developers – and in some case householders building annexes, extensions and/or their own homes – typically pay sums to their local council as part of the planning process for local infrastructure improvements under CIL and Section 106 rules.

Lack of awareness (or poor advice) has resulted in some – especially homeowners – facing unnecessary bills of more than £100,000.

Mr Oliver said that CIL was far from perfect but many of the grey areas have gradually become clarified since its introduction in 2010.

He will expand upon CIL, IL and other property taxes such as Land Remediation Tax Relief (LRTR) at two seminars being held by E3 in November and December for developers and property professionals.

Mr Oliver FRICS, who founded E3 in 2003 with wife Nicky Oliver said: “We consider the planning system is ill-prepared for the radical changes announced for CIL and the fragmentation of this in a new and mandatory IL for the rest of the country.”

He added: “A new regime for IL could take us back ten years – if it is not carefully drafted to improve upon CIL.

“There is a clear need to reform the CIL process and particularly to help private individuals to avoid life-changing cost impacts on their private homes and specifically those undertaking extensions on houses yet to be occupied.

“I hope that you and the committee will be very cautious – not least in the aftermath of the Mini-Budget - not to ‘throw out the baby with the bath water’ and commit to a new IL which has no clarity, nor certainty and in its current form must be further scrutinised in great detail on the substantive measures and draft regulations - long before passing these into legislation that could further paralyse the planning system, extend delays and further reduce housing numbers.”

Please see the right column for a copy of the full letter issued to the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities.

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