Councillors ready to tax office premises developers

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A TAX on new developments that will make it more expensive to build offices in Leeds than other parts of Yorkshire is set to receive official backing.

Councillors are expected to approve plans to charge developers who build city centre offices £35 per square metre.

In contrast, office blocks built in the centre of Sheffield or Harrogate will not face similar charges.

The Leeds proposals have been watered down since the start of the year when plans to charge £90 provoked warnings from business leaders that they could add about £1m to the cost of a new office block and deter companies from coming to the city.

The new charge is known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and money raised can be used to pay for schools, transport schemes and other public projects.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the charging levels for the new levy are at an appropriate level to help us pay for vital infrastructure improvements but also to show that we are sensitive to commercial realities and the need to support continued growth in Leeds as an attractive location for investors.

“The proposed levy rates in Leeds have been set following an extensive public consultation exercise carried out this year, with over 50 responses received from developers, businesses, parish councils, community groups, agencies and residents.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has taken part in the consultation.

“Their input has been invaluable in order to help us finalise our figures for something which is vitally important we get right,” added Coun Gruen.