Coronavirus: Actions for CIL
COVID-19 pandemic lockdown implications for Community Infrastructure Levy
The impact of recent changes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been widespread and CIL is an area of statutory council business which has been affected during this period. With the announcements of a pause on most of the construction industry and a halt to property sales, together with questions being raised about payment of CIL, Neighbourhood CIL transactions and approval of infrastructure funding, we have considered the implications. We have been in discussion with the Ministry of Homes, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to explore how the methods of support we proposed may also be addressed in national guidance and legislation.
Further to these discussions, MHCLG have written to Chief Planning Officers and also published the following guidance.
The guidance aims to help small and mediums sized developers by introducing amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 to enable charging authorities to defer payments, to temporarily disapply late payment interest and to provide a discretion to return interest already charged where they consider it appropriate to do so. The easements can be applied to developers with an annual turnover of less than £45 million. It is intended that these easements will not be open-ended and will be removed when the economic situation has recovered. The changes to the CIL Regulations are in force from 22 July 2020 to 31 July 2021.
Deferral of CIL payment
Where a CIL instalment is routinely due within the next 14 days, and is not already being dealt with as a debt recovery case:
- Where development has already commenced, upon submission of a CIL Deferral Application Form, a new CIL demand notice will be re-issued to allow for a 3 month extension to the instalment due date. Any further extension to instalment payment will need to be applied for and approved. Please note It will take time for notices to be prepared and issued, but this work will be prioritised.
- Where deferral has already been applied for and a developer wishes to further extend the deferral period, when payment is due within 14 days, a further application form must be completed and submitted.
- Applications to refund CIL Late Payment Interest (LPI) can be made at the time a final payment of the outstanding CIL Liability is made. An application for refund of LPI must be made on the correct form. An individual, case by case review of late payment interest and surcharges for deferred/enforcement cases will be made and a pragmatic approach adopted to support customers in these circumstances, in line with the guidance and CIL Regulations.
- Neighbourhood CIL payments due by 28 April 2020 have been made to town and parish councils for the CIL collected in the period between 1 October 2019 and 31 March 2020. Town and parish councils are advised that the payments that are due to be made in October 2020 are likely to be lower than the predicted amounts expected to be received by East Suffolk. This is directly due to the extensions in instalment payment timescales as detailed above.
- We have also received requests to extend the 5 year period to spend Neighbourhood CIL. The 5 year spend limit is set by legislation and cannot be changed at a local level. We are keen to work with all parishes in helping them to spend their Neighbourhood CIL in an efficient and timely manner. If any Neighbourhood CIL is unspent in the 5 years since it was received and has to be returned to the district, then this remains ring-fenced to spend in the parish and we would seek to direct that back to existing planned projects, led by the parish, in the first instance.
CIL Spending Strategy
- The 2020 window for district CIL funding bids was due to commence on 1 April. In light of current circumstances we have paused the CIL spending strategy for 6 months, to 30 September, whilst statutory infrastructure providers focus their resources towards Coronavirus. The bid round for 2020 will be open between 30 September and 30 November 2020.
As a result of our Infrastructure Team working remotely, we remain available to support developers, communities and infrastructure providers. If you need to contact us, please leave a voicemail on 01502 523059 or email CIL@eastsuffolk.gov.uk (if a new enquiry). Our team can all pick these up, will assign to the relevant officer from there and will call you back where required. Over this time we are productively focussing our attention on our existing Exacom project to build our database of developer contributions. This digital transformation of the service will provide a comprehensive publicly accessible resource for all CIL and Section 106 agreements.