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Monday 25 February 2019

New housing levy to benefit local communities in place by March

A levy on new homes and property sites will be in place in the borough by 1 March – bringing in significant financial benefits for local communities.

The community infrastructure levy (CIL), approved by Cheshire East’s full council allows the authority to charge developers and landowners additional fees, according to floor space and areas of the borough in which the developments are taking place.

The framework for the CIL sees the borough broken up into a number of charging zones. There are five zones altogether, ranging from zero to £71 per square metre.

The CIL fund, which can be used anywhere in the borough, will not replace section106 agreements, by which developers make a contribution to the local authority to finance infrastructure projects directly related to the local impact of a development.

Where a charge is levied, parishes will receive 15 per cent of the funding and 25 per cent where a neighbourhood plan is in place. The balance will go into a fund to be used by the council for infrastructure projects across the borough to support development, wherever the location.

In Cheshire East, charges will apply to residential development and retail parks at Grand Junction in Crewe and Handforth Dean. Office and industrial space will be exempt as will brownfield sites. Exemptions also extend to some charitable development, some social housing, developments classed as ‘self-build’ and empty buildings brought back into use.

The council’s final charging schedule contains a list of examples of where funds could be invested, including various highways schemes, some town centre projects, pedestrian, cycle and bus facilities, recreation and sports amenities.

An average 100sq metre new home could generate as much as £7,100 towards the fund.  The approved CIL will apply to 93 per cent of the borough and is expected to continue through to 2030 – the lifespan of the current local plan.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “The council’s charging schedule for CIL went through a rigorous public examination before an independent examiner who, with one or two amendments, endorsed the zones and charges the council proposed.

“We are pleased that council has approved this and recognised the enormous benefits the community infrastructure levy will bring to our communities.”

Cheshire East Council’s local development plan envisages the creation of 36,000 homes and 380 hectares of employment land up to 2030, accompanied by new or improved highways and additional schools, health and leisure provision.

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