City to set 
£100 limit 
on levy to 
pay for new 

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LEEDS City Council is considering proposals which could see new city centre office developments charged a maximum of £100 per square metre levy.

Big out-of-town retail developments could face the highest charge at £275, falling to a maximum of £175 in the city centre, under the proposals. It is proposed that retail schemes under 500 sq m would not face a charge.

The proposals, which will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s development plan panel on December 19, have emerged from a study by GVA into the potential for introducing a “community infrastructure levy” known as CIL, in Leeds. The CIL is a new levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area to support infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods require.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “The report to the development plan panel sets out the theoretical maximum rates based on viability that should be charged by a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). It will be up to members to decide what the rates should be based on the GVA study and other evidence. The key intention is to achieve a balance in gaining a reasonable contribution for infrastructure from new development, against the need to continue to encourage the overall growth of the district.

“In addition, from April 2014 the regulations will change the current system of collecting planning obligations... if the council does not collect a CIL then the income to pay for infrastructure across the district in the way in which it does at present will be greatly reduced.

“The rates will be set at a level which is not expected to harm the overall viability of development in the city in this current difficult economic period. In addition, the government guidance is clear that the levy must be based on viability and should reflect the market and land values of Leeds rather than look too strongly to comparisons elsewhere.

“The conclusions of the study take account of initial consultation with the development industry and will be subject to public consultation in spring next year in a preliminary draft charging schedule, as set out in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations.”

Joanna Gabrilatsou, of Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “The provision of much needed infrastructure through the levy will of course be of great benefit, but at the same time it may threaten the viability of some projects, large and small.”