‘We should be squeezing as much as we can from developers’ - Arun Lib Dem

Lib Dem Francis Oppler
Lib Dem Francis Oppler

A planning charge levied on development to fund infrastructure should not be set too high to disincentivise housebuilding in Arun, several councillors have argued.

The rate of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is set per square metre of residential and some commercial developments and is collected alongside section 106 contributions negotiated on a site-by-site basis.

Arun District Council’s planning policy sub-committee agreed in early December to consult on a first draft of CIL charges.

Different rates have been set for development in defined residential ‘zones’ with some areas exempt from charges.

This started on December 10 and ends on January 21.

According to an officers’ report: “In setting a CIL, legislation requires the council to strike an appropriate balance between the desirability of funding infrastructure to support development and the potential effects of imposing a charge on the economic viability of development as a whole.”

At a Full Council meeting on Wednesday (January 9), Francis Oppler (LDem, Orchard) described a ‘great sense of unease’ when listening to consultants who delivered a presentation on CIL to councillors last month.

He said: “There is a fine line between setting the rate at the level which will disincentivise landowners and developers from building the properties but the rate at which we have set the consultant said it’s going to be approximately £15,000 per property. That’s nothing to a developer. I feel we could nudge it up.”

He suggested they needed to ‘squeeze as much as we can out of developers’ as a lot of the major schemes were strongly opposed by residents and it was important community and infrastructure benefits were realised.

Byt Paul English (Con, Felpham West) suggested by putting the rates of CIL up even more they would not be squeezing developers but future residents as house prices would simply go up.

Trevor Bence (Con, Aldwick East), cabinet member for residential services, added: “The one thing I do not want is for the CIL to be so expensive so the people we are targeting for housing can’t afford it.”

Mike Clayden (Con, East Preston), cabinet member for community wellbeing, felt they could ‘snuff out’ some needed housebuilding by increasing CIL too much.

However Daniel Purchese (LDem, Beach) pointed out that Cllr Oppler was only suggesting CIL be ‘nudged up slightly not massively increased’. With house prices in the area already being ‘astronomical’ he argued it was not automatic that the cost of CIL is passed on to the housebuyer.

To take part in the consultation visit http://arun.objective.co.uk/portal