Cllr Guida Esteves, at the full council meeting on 5 October, asked the lead councillor for more information about the timeline for the adoption of the Community infrastructure Levy (CIL), whose draft schedule was consulted on in 2015 by the council. There have been two viability studies done since then but the adoption of the levy has not progressed any further. The lead councillor, Cllr Jan Harwoord, failed to provide any reasons for the lack of progress since 2015 but said that a third viability study is being done and that they are also looking to future legislation that may replace the levy. In response to further questions, Cllr Harwood admitted that CIL is not a priority. Currently developer contributions towards infrastructure in the Borough are subject to negotiation and secured under S106 agreements; whereas with CIL these are calculated at preset rates and non-negotiable. New development will nearly always have an impact on infrastructure with different types of development and scales of development having different effects.
A single new dwelling may not appear to have an impact, but the cumulative impact of twenty or so single dwellings certainly will. It is therefore fair that all development pays a share towards the cost of infrastructure, services and amenities that everyone uses and not just large-scale development. Through CIL, all but the smallest building projects will make a contribution towards additional infrastructure.
GBC’s continued slow walk of this important element of local planning is having a significant impact on the villages that were inset from the Greenbelt in April 2019 and have since seen an unprecedented increase in planning applications for development of local green spaces.