Oct 18 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
BUILDING a new home or extending offices could cost a minimum extra £10,000 under a new charge designed to help find money for schools, health services and transport improvements.
Harrow Council is to launch a six-week consultation on the level of a proposed new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that, from June or July 2013, would oblige developers of particular types of new property to contribute towards neighbourhood improvements and offset the social impact of their scheme.
A report to the council’s cabinet committee said CIL income will make up the £61.2million shortfall in the estimated £137m total bill for the necessary schools, transport, libraries, parks, leisure facilities and other infrastructure required to support and sustain the expected new development in Harrow.
Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, Keith Ferry, said: “We are eager to introduce the Harrow Community Infrastructure Levy to ensure the many benefits that developments can bring are shared across the entire community. We have tried to set our charges with sensitivity towards the current economic climate to ensure development supports our long-term vision.
The amount of CIL and its scope and exemptions are decided by individual councils and will largely replace section 106 agreements, which were introduced by the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act and are also known as planning gain money, through which a set sum of money designed to mitigate the project’s effects was negotiated between council and developer.
Unlike s106 agreements, CIL income can be pooled to try to address the cumulative pressure on services by successive developments and, unlike its predecessor, cannot be easily waived or renegotiated.
The Labour-run council is proposing to set the rates at £110 per square metre for residential use, £55 per square metre for residential institutions, excluding hospitals, student accommodation, hotels, hostels and houses in multiple occupation, £100 per square metre for retail, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes, drinking establishments and hot food takeaways.
All other uses will not been charged. It would be liable where there was a net increase in floor space in excess of 100sqm.
Harrow’s proposed £110 per square metre levy for new homes and large-scale extensions compares to Brent’s anticipated £200 residential rate, Hillingdon’s expected £95 and Barnet’s proposed £135.
Brent Council’s consultation on its charging schedule ended in August for which there will be an examination in public on November 13 and 14 at Patidar House, London Road, Wembley.
The Harrow CIL would come on top of a Mayor of London’s citywide CIL that came into force on April 1 and costs developers £35 per square metre.
■ Details of the consultation are at www.harrow.gov.uk/ldf.