In this interesting article, Meeta Kaur sets out the current problems that CIL is posing for authorities and developers alike. This isn't the first time that the CIL regulations have faced criticism, but now their sheer inflexibility may cause their undoing. The need for developers to make up-front CIL payments before starting development, or to keep funding CIL instalments on development that has already begun is threatening development. The only option is for some form of amendment to the regulations and here is my short term, three pronged, solution. In the longer term a more thoughtful and systemic review of the CIL regulations is needed.
The most dramatic solution would be for authorities that now regret tying development up in the CIL straight-jacket: they would be allowed to abandon their CIL regimes entirely and for all developments that have already been granted planning permission (whether started or not) the potential or outstanding CIL liability that they would have faced would be treated as if it were contained in a section 106 obligation. As a result authorities and developers would then have the flexibility to renegotiate the amount and/or timing of these payments by way a varied section 106 obligation.
For authorities who did not want to abandon their CIL regime the second category would allow them to convert CIL obligations for specified sites into section 106 obligations, whilst continuing with CIL for all remaining sites. Great care would obviously need to be taken to ensure fairness between those sites selected and those that were not. The terms of the 'converted' agreements for the selected sites could then be renegotiated, as appropriate.
The third tier would be for those authorities that have adopted CIL and are happy with the way it is working. They would carry on as normal.
This quick-fix solution offers flexibility to those authorities that need it, and would allow CIL obligations to be replaced with obligations more suited to these difficult times.
Is the relentless CIL in crisis?