Sheffield public to have say on new levy

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A PUBLIC consultation exercise will take place before proposed changes are made to how developers in Sheffield pay for public improvements.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet is today due to agree a plan to replace the current Section 106 payments, under which property developers fund projects such as road improvements or better parks in return for planning permission, with a Community Infrastructure Levy.

The change still has to be agreed by the full council – and ruling Labour councillors say they will ask for comments on the proposals beforehand.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “Community Infrastructure Levy will not be a new additional charge for developers as it will effectively replace the current system.

“The levy offers developers greater certainty of development costs compared with the current system and will not be a barrier to development.

“The money will be used to provide essential infrastructure to support new developments, such as additional school places, transport and environmental improvements.

“The proposed charges will be open to public consultation following a Cabinet decision, and we welcome comments on the proposals. It is not expected to be implemented until April 2014.”

Sheffield Council says the proposed levy, being implemented by councils across the country, will be fairer than the previous system, giving developers much more certainty from the start about how much money they will be expected to contribute.

Office and industrial buildings would not face a charge under the new system but retail, car showrooms and out-of-town leisure developments would be the subject of a £60 levy per square metre.

New student housing and hotel schemes would pay £50 and £45 respectively while house builders would be charged between £20 and £100 depending on the neighbourhood.