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Do I still need to pay instalments of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) while the development site is closed?

Payments of the Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) are tied to commencement of development, and where an instalment policy is in place, the instalments are usually tied to periods of time following commencement rather than build out rates. Therefore where a development has commenced, payments of CIL are likely to fall due in respect of a site notwithstanding that the site may have temporarily closed or build out rates have slowed.

New regulations now in force, provide some additional relief for those developers with an annual turnover of £45 million or less. Such relief will allow the Council to defer payments, disapply late interest charges, and refund late interest charges that have already been levied since 21 March 2020.

For those developers that cannot benefit from the new provisions, unless a Council has adopted an exceptional circumstances relief policy the regulations do not provide for any relief to be provided in instances where payment of CIL will create viability issues. Most Councils have not adopted such a policy, and in those circumstances the CIL liability will remain due in accordance with the payment schedule on the demand notice.

Councils are at liberty to amend their instalment policies in accordance with their own internal procedures, and the Government is encouraging Councils to explore this option to provide some relief to developers. However this will only assist in respect of any prospective instalments where the development commences after the new instalment policy has been adopted.

For those developers whose annual turnover exceeds £45 million, the Government seems to be taking the view that such developers can afford their CIL liabilities regardless of the current climate. The only concession the Government has proposed is to encourage Councils to make use of the existing discretion they have in respect of the imposition of surcharges for late payments.