NIMBYs to be ‘bribed’

imageWorryingly, Therasa May has made her first poor decision and regrettably, it’s one that has an impact on planning.

Even if this isn’t her idea and just something one of the surviving bright young policy wonks has been saving up, it’s a bad one.  It should be consigned to the bin, by the time MPs have returned from swanning around their various hot and sunny retreats.  I say swanning around because, let’s not forget, Brexit has not actually happened yet, so nothing’s changed.  The EU still rules the roost on everything, apart pieces of domestic policy madness, such as this one.

Community Infrastructure Levy, where it’s actually levied that is (not so South Holland)  is used to fund local infrastructure needs.  See bottom of page for a more detailed explanation.

Top slicing what is already, in many instances, an inadequate amount of money, to pass on to people who may well just bank it, or quickly move out of the area altogether, doesn’t make sense.

CIL is supposed to be about improving things for the community in general and reducing the impact of the development that generated the CIL in the first place, not lining the pockets of a few NIMBYs.

There will also be a direct impact on those areas that have a neighbourhood plan in place, as this will cut the percentage share of CIL they receive.

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The Telegraph

Ben Riley-Smith, political correspondent
7 AUGUST 2016 • 10:00PM
Homeowners in countryside villages and towns could be given cash payments to offset disruptive developments in their communities, the government has said.

Ministers’ concern has grown that people affected by unwanted developments near their houses are not adequately compensated.

It could allay residents’ frustration when they feel planning permission is being granted for a building project they oppose.

Theresa May is said to be personally interested in the idea as it fits with her drive to create an economy that “works for everyone”.

The scheme would follow the blueprint of a similar one announced over the weekend to give money directly to households affected by fracking.

It may also help tackle the problem of so-called Nimbys – people who support more house building provided that it is “not in my back yard”.

Ministers and civil servants in the Communities Department are reviewing the Community Infrastructure Levy, a charge placed by councils on developments that have more than 100 square metres of floor space.

They are now considering whether some of the money raised by the charge can be handed directly to homeowners as well as spent on local services.

A government source told The Telegraph: “One of the things we’re interested in is if we can get a better linkage between a community agreeing to take certain kinds of development and actually then getting money to spend on improving their local area in return.

“Let’s say you’re a village and you accept a significant housing development on the edge of the village, at the moment you might not see very much of the money that’s comes in from that development at all. It might be sent elsewhere in the district.”

Asked if households could be given cash payment directly, the source said: “Absolutely there is some thinking about what mechanisms can you come up with that ensure that the people affected by development actually see the benefit of that development.”

The move could help the Government hit targets for house building while keeping the communities affected on side in the coming year.

There were concerns that the communities were becoming less able to veto planning applications under George Osborne, the former chancellor, as he changed rules to encourage more new houses.

Environmental charities attacked the Tories last year for planning rule changes and warned that the green belt was under growing threat despite an election manifesto promise to protect it.

Announcing a similar change to the way communities affected by fracking will be compensated, Mrs May on Sunday referred to her drive to rebalance the economy.

“The Government I lead will be always be driven by the interests of the many – ordinary families for whom life is harder than many people in politics realise,” she said.

“As I said on my first night as Prime Minister: when we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful but of you.”

However environmental groups attacked the announcement. Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, said: “The Government has tried to sweeten the fracking pill with cash bribes before, and public opposition just kept on growing.

“The simple truth is that people’s concerns about climate change and their local environment cannot be bought off with a wad of cash.”

“You can’t put a price on the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the beauty of our countryside.”

*What can the Community Infrastructure Levy be spent on (and by whom)?
The levy can be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure, including transport, flood defences, schools, hospitals, and other health and social care facilities (for further details, see Section 216(2) of the Planning Act 2008, and Regulation 59, as amended by the 2012 and 2013 Regulations). This definition allows the levy to be used to fund a very broad range of facilities such as play areas, parks and green spaces, cultural and sports facilities, academies and free schools, district heating schemes and police stations and other community safety facilities. This flexibility gives local areas the opportunity to choose what infrastructure they need to deliver their relevant Plan (the Local Plan in England, Local Development Plan in Wales, and the London Plan in London). Charging authorities may not use the levy to fund affordable housing.

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