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Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Community Infrastructure Levy could help to improve transport and green spaces

A new charge on development to help provide or improve community facilities, transport, highways, or green spaces has been approved by West Lancashire Borough Council.

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a new planning charge designed to provide a fair and transparent way of ensuring that development contributes to the cost of the infrastructure it will rely upon.  The new levy is non-negotiable and is applied at a rate set out in a published charging schedule on all qualifying development.  The levy will largely replace the current system were legal agreements are negotiated on a site by site basis.

To introduce this charge, the Council submitted its proposed charging schedule for independent examination by a Planning Inspector. The examination was held earlier this year and the Inspector approved the charging schedule, subject to a minor change. The schedule was adopted by Full Council on 23 July 2014 and will come into effect on 1 September 2014.

Planning applications that receive planning permission from 1 September for certain types of development in West Lancashire will now have to pay a charge for this development. The scale of the charge will be based on the size, type and location of the development.

The monies collected will then be used to provide infrastructure improvements across the Borough. This may include highway improvements, provision of new or enhanced cycle/footpaths, new or enhanced public open spaces, environmental improvements and other community related benefits.

Councillor Martin Forshaw, portfolio holder for Planning and Development, said: “I am very pleased that the Council has agreed to introduce this charge and that the Planning Inspector agreed with our proposals. We are constantly working to improve West Lancashire for residents, and charging this levy means there will be more money to contribute towards funding infrastructure provision and improvements.

“The Council has taken great care to ensure these charges do not prevent development from taking place and that they strike a balance between providing well-designed developments and providing infrastructure improvements.”

Full information can be found at Community Infrastructure Levy.

The Council are also inviting comments on whether discretionary relief in exceptional circumstances should be introduced so that where the applicant can demonstrate such circumstances, the Council can consider waiving the CIL charge for that particular development. Comments on this should be sent to the Council by 5pm on Friday 19 September 2014. For more information contact CIL@westlancs.gov.uk or 01695 585393.

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