Builders’ levy plan takes step forward

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Plan for new levy on building in Leeds draws closer

The community infrastructure levy (CIL) could see builders having to hand over as much as £90 per square metre to Leeds City Council to construct offices and housing.

Seen as a way for councils to raise funds for infrastructure improvements in the areas close to new developments, the government-proposed CIL is designed to be fairer and faster than existing planning obligations known as section 106 agreements.

The council has held a public consultation on the proposed levy rates. If approved by the Planning Inspectorate, they are expected to come into force at the end of the year.

Coun Peter Gruen, executive member for planning, said: “We are nearing the completion on the process of bringing in this new levy and feel we’ve achieved the right balance between generating funds towards paying for infrastructure across Leeds and also ensuring that we encourage continued investment and growth.

There ishowever, concern that CIL may stifle building projects.

The Construction Industry Council for Yorkshire said it would welcome a “fair and structured levy” but said rates should not be “a barrier to the viability of developments which would stifle the economic and household growth aspirations advocated by the government”.

A spokesman said: “This fine balance is critical to ensuring that the cumulative impact of policy costs and CIL does not make development in our region unviable.”

The CIL would not apply to home extensions, self-build projects, development by not-for-profit organisations or affordable housing. A four-week public consultation is now being held on minor modifications to the original proposal.

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