The government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill saw its first reading on 11th May 2022. Touted as a ‘key component’ to reducing inequality and closing the UK’s wealth gap, the proposals contained in the Bill include various changes to the planning system.
The Bill extends to 326 pages, so Jasmine Philpott, Planner at Durrants, has attempted to summarise the proposals that could have the biggest impact on our clients.
Planning fee increase
A planning fee increase of 35% for major applications and 25% for minor applications is proposed – that means an increase from £462 + VAT to £578 + VAT for most applications. The extra revenue is intended to improve the service for applicants and the level of skill within local authorities, which can only be a good thing, but such big increases are a difficult pill to swallow in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
Another change is the extension of the period for taking enforcement action to 10 years in all cases (it is currently 4 in some cases). This means a longer wait for Certificates of Lawfulness for some uses, and a higher risk of enforcement action.
Replacement of CIL
The government are now proposing to replace CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) with a new levy (just ‘Infrastructure Levy’), which will be calculated on uplift in value rather than floor space. It appears that through the new levy, if, for example, build costs increase and property prices go down over time, the Levy payable would reduce to reflect that. But it will also work the opposite way, so that if your scheme grows in profit, you will pay more Levy.
And if you thought this will finally mark the end of Section 106 agreements, think again – those are here to stay.
The Bill is only at the first reading stage, and accompanying regulations and guidance have yet to be published. The Bill requires three readings in the House of Commons, and three in the House of Lords, then it receives Royal Assent, with amendments made throughout that process. The changes therefore will not take effect until at least 2024, and there is every chance that the Bill could look very different by then.