Southwark CIL charging schedule approved by examiner

Out-Law News | 12 Mar 2015 | 5:20 pm | 1 min. read

An examiner has recommended that Southwark Council's community infrastructure levy (CIL) draft charging schedule (DCS) be adopted, subject to minor modifications.

Following examination hearings in July and a postponement of examination in September, to allow the Council to gather further evidence in support of its proposed charging rates, examiner Brian Sims issued his final report (19-page / 758 KB PDF) this month. He said the DCS provided "an appropriate basis for the collection of the levy" in the borough, that the Council had "sufficient evidence to support the [DCS]" and that it could "show that the levy is set at a level that [would] not put the overall development in the borough at risk".

Sims recommended several modifications to the DCS to bring it within statutory requirements. The Council had proposed to set borough-wide rates of £250 per square metre for 'destination' retail development and £125 per sq m for all other retail development. The inspector noted that "the distinction between destination and other retail uses was not made out" and that the Council had, therefore, agreed to delete the £250 per sq m rate from its CIL schedule.

The inspector noted that there had been objections from statutory infrastructure providers to the Council's proposed application of a £30 per sq m charge to publicly funded development, by including it under the category of 'all other uses' under the DCS. Sims said there had also been local objection to the inclusion of community facilities in the 'all other uses' category. The inspector, therefore, endorsed the reduction of the 'all other uses' charge to nil.

The other changes recommended by the inspector were: the exclusion of car parking provision from the 'retail development and sui generis uses akin to retail' category attracting a charge of £125 per sq m; the modification of the position of the boundary between two of the proposed residential charging zones; and clarification that a £168 per week rental threshold, below which student housing would attract a nil rate, was an 'average' figure.

The Council said the modified CIL schedule, incorporating the recommended modifications, was expected to be considered by the Council’s cabinet on 17 March and by the full council on 25 March. The schedule is expected to be adopted and implemented on 1 April.