Large housebuilders have set up a “fighting fund” to employ real estate expert Savills to fight community infrastructure levies that threaten schemes’ viability.
Larger members of the Home Builder’s Federation have set up the fund to undertake “core work on CIL principles”, using this to represent builders through the process of establishing schedules.
The move is a co-ordinated attempt by industry “to ensure local authorities are setting realistic CIL levels that don’t make development unviable” – as CIL legislation requires.
It follows judgements in Greater Norwich where a council’s proposed residential rates were reduced by up to 35 per cent – as they were deemed to pose a “significant risk” to project delivery.
The HBF has also beefed up its planning department to ensure representation at all future local plan enquiries, to ensure local authorities are meeting their responsibilities.
HBF executive chairman Steward Basely said: “The new planning and regulatory systems hand significant powers to Local Authorities. We are keen to work constructively with them to ensure they are abiding by their new responsibilities.
“The rate at which CIL is set will be a huge determinant on whether house building sites are viable or not. We have an acute housing crisis in this country and it is imperative desperately needed housing supply is not strangled.”
“We want to work with Councils to set realistic charge levels that allow houses to be built – and vital infrastructure be delivered.”
Melys Pritchett, associate director of Savills, who is leading the work on CILs said, “We have represented individual consortia of HBF members across the country on over 35 CILs to date.”
“Effective engagement from the industry needs to be coordinated and supported with a strong evidence base. This commitment by the HBF and its members will allow us to positively and proactively engage with Local Authorities to assist them in ensuring their CIL rates do not prejudice the delivery of their development plans.”