South Norfolk communities set for development “windfall”
Communities in south Norfolk have been urged to start drawing up an infrastructure shopping list as a result of a 'windfall' from the building of thousands of new homes.
Plans for the introduction of a new levy on developers in south Norfolk was approved yesterday, which could result in a �100m investment in the district over the next 20 years.
Members of South Norfolk Council's cabinet gave their backing to the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that is set to be imposed on the builders of new homes from next year.
Councillors backed a consultation period over the new fees, which is set to charge between �135 and �160 per square metre for new developments near Norwich and �75 per square metre for housing schemes in rural parts of the district.
South Norfolk is set to receive more than 9,000 new homes over the next 20 years, which includes 2,200 extra houses in Wymondham, 1,800 in Long Stratton, and 1,000 in Hethersett as part of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's joint core strategy.
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The introduction of CILs, which are set to be adopted in September 2012, is a fixed charge for all new housing schemes and some new business and leisure developments.
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said Section 106 agreements would still exist and developers would not be able to escape from making infrastructure contributions before the implementation of CILs. He added that any settlement with a development of more than half a dozen homes would receive some significant investment.
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'We have to work with parishes and villages to make sure money is spent wisely to the value of that community. It is the time to start thinking about how they would spend a development windfall in their villages.'
'We are lighting the touchpaper for an enormous sum of money that will come into most villages and our parish councils and volunteer groups should be getting their shopping lists together so they are not caught flat footed,' he said.
Developments near Norwich, including the A11 corridor settlements of Wymondham and Hethersett, will fall within a higher levy charge whilst the proposed 1,800 homes at Long Stratton will be classed as part of the rural catchment area. The scheme could help fund a long-awaited bypass for the south Norfolk village.
Mr Fuller added that councils will review the homes tariff in a couple of years and may change the CIL rates depending on the state of the economic climate.
'It is a 20 year plan and it is important we nail down which bits of infrastructure are paid for by CILs. Of the three districts, we have the heaviest burden to carry and we are looking to have more development early in the development area,' he said.
Tim Horspole, planning and housing manager, said developers would commit a criminal offence if they did not pay their levy fee.
Murray Gray, South Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader, added that the council needed to set a minimum room size to stop developers from building smaller houses to reduce their CIL contributions.
A consultation over the preliminary charging schedule is set to run from the beginning of October to November.