Community Interest Levy – we need a public list of projects the money will be spent on!

Now that CIL is a reality in East Devon, we (i.e. those of us who are not in the EDDC cabinet) need to see how we can make it work for us. It will be difficult.

The levy is charged on a square metre basis for all new development, though there is still some complex crossover with the old Section 106 charging system. Different levies are charged in different areas: in some parts of Cranbrook it is zero, whereas Sidmouth attracts one of the highest levies.

Few people realise that at least 15% of the levy should be rebated by EDDC to the town or village involved – 25% if that town or village has a Neighbourhood Plan in place. Indeed, ALL of it can go to a place which solely suffers the downside of development (think here Sidford and Sidbury).

Of course, knowing our district council, our majority party will already be closely examining the loopholes to see if they can work for them.

One such loophole is that – of course – there will be exemptions. The CIL rules mean that all such exemptions must be advertised. Watch the small print of your local newspapers where, no doubt, the same old names will crop up with many and varied reasons why they should not pay up.

Another unfortunate loophole is that a council can keep quiet about what they spend the money on – and it can be spent anywhere in a district.

RED FLAG: anywhere – for example, the money raised could find itself 100% directed say towards only Honiton, or the Blackdown Hills or Cranbrook.

RED FLAG: Councils are encouraged (but not obliged) to make a list of the infrastructure projects it wants to spend its CIL pot on. Or it can have no list and just dip into the pot whenever it feels like it.

RED FLAG: Will we be “consulted” about what we want the money spent on? Dream on.

RED FLAG: will EDDC try to interfere on what towns or villages spend the money on. If it ever trickles down to them as, in some places where CIL operates, they have yet to see a penny of their money, for reasons unexplained to them – maybe the developers dragging heels and not paying the district and the district turning a blind eye?

RED FLAG: What are you betting our council drags its heels on such a list and that, if it and when it considers where CIL will be spent, it will be decided by a forum, or working party or think tank that meets in secret and has no agendas or minutes.

For a primer on CIL, see here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6313/1897278.pdf