13 June 2023

BPF leads industry calls to scrap infrastructure levy plans – Victoria Du Croz and Helen Streeton speak to Property Week

Partner and Head of Planning Victoria Du Croz, and Partner and Head of Build to Rent Helen Streeton, have featured in Property Week’s latest piece on the BFP’s opposition to government proposed new infrastructure levy plans.

The British Property Federation (BPF) urged the government to abandon the plans for the levy, claiming it would add new challenges and instead called for reform of existing planning contributions.

The BPF highlighted the difficulty it said local authorities would have setting viable levy rates, particularly for brownfield and urban development sites, due to land values and build costs varying site by site and by land use. It also claimed under a single, more rigid levy, the mechanism for calculating affordable housing contribution would raise less as it would not be site-specific.

Victoria Du Croz shared her concerns on the fundamental problems with the government’s proposals, including a failure to focus on securing the actual development of infrastructure.

She states that “Most local opposition to development is due to the perceived adverse impact on existing infrastructure,” she said. ”If infrastructure comes forward in a timely manner, it would alleviate this opposition, but local authorities are struggling to deliver infrastructure for new development under the current system due to resourcing constraints.

”The new levy does nothing to remedy this challenge and adds more layers of complexity. It will require viability assessments for types of development that currently don’t require them, including industrial and offices. It is difficult to see how local authorities will have the additional capacity needed to handle the new volume of assessments.”

Helen Streeton echoes these concerns warning that the levy runs the risk of further stifling new home development, increasing developers time securing planning consent.

She adds: “As infrastructure needs to be delivered in advance, or in tandem with new development, the government is proposing to introduce two new routes: delivery agreements for ‘integral infrastructure’, which will work alongside planning conditions for onsite infrastructure, like play areas; and levy-funded infrastructure, which will pay for the community infrastructure.

”It is difficult to see how this approach simplifies matters and is any different from having CIL plus Section 106”.

This article was first published in Property Week on 12 June 2023 and is available to read in full here, behind their paywall.

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