A LEVY on developers who wish to build anywhere outside the national park is set to go before South Lakeland District Council’s cabinet next week for approval.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which will set a non-negotiable charge for developers per square metre they build on, came under intense scrutiny by councillors, who made a series of recommendations before forwarding it to cabinet who will discuss it on Wednesday (Aug 27).
The levy will be set by SLDC and will apply to developments in any area of South Lakeland which falls outside the Lake District National Park boundaries.
“We think the right thing to do now is to take a reasonably cautious view,” said Dan Hudson, CIL’s development strategy manager.
“Over time we’ll then be able to see if it’s working.”
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The levy currently proposes housing developers pay £50 per square metre of their development, while supermarkets could pay as much as £150 per square metre.
But according to current plans, some developments will be exempt from the levy, including extra care housing, affordable housing and the Canal Head regeneration at Ulverston and Kendal.
Under current guidelines, hotels will also be exempt - which attracted comment at the scrutiny meeting.
“I think it would be appropriate to apply it to hotels,” said Coun Shirley Evans.
“I hate to be specific but there’s that junction at the County Hall where cars repeatedly turn right into the hotel, even though they shouldn’t.
“I think it would be appropriate to apply a levy.”
Coun David Ryder added: “It should be looked at before the next time it’s reviewed.”
Councillors agreed they would pass the recommendation to cabinet, along with the suggestion that ‘border issues’ could be looked at, where a development would share a boundary with a neighbouring planning authority.
Questions were also raised over whether the rate should be ‘variable’ so that development on more expensive land would incur a proportionate charge.
“We’ll get to the point where some people can afford the levy and to others £50 per square metre will be crippling,” added Coun David Ryder.
“I think for the future we should consider a variable rate.”
If approved by cabinet next week, the plans will go before an inspector for a final decision.
Once given the go-ahead, it is estimated CIL will be in place by next year.