Council looks to lift levy on new agricultural buildings
South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservative group has published plans to remove a tax on new agricultural buildings because it says it’s having an adverse impact on farming communities.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a tax on new developments which was introduced by South Gloucestershire Council in 2015.
Under CIL, new agricultural buildings are currently classified as ‘other’ developments, and charged a flat rate of £10 per square metre, with the money going to fund council projects.
Now the council is looking to exempt new agricultural buildings. Cabinet Member for Planning Cllr Colin Hunt said; “An unintended consequence of this policy, which was agreed under the previous administration, has been to put additional pressure on struggling farms, who have faced this extra charge to invest in their businesses. This was wrong, and we have taken the decision to put it right by starting this review.”
Unlike with Section 106 agreements, where the money must offset the impact of a new development, CIL receipts can be used to fund any infrastructure projected identified by the council which is on the ‘Regulation 123 list’.
These have included A38 improvements including the Aztec Roundabout scheme which will include £2.5m from CIL receipts, £1m for the North Fringe to Hengrove Metrobus Scheme, and £500,000 to support the provision of extra primary school places in 2018/19.
The CIL charges for new agricultural buildings alone have generated £116,000 in the last three years.
Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn), who represents a large rural ward said; “I am pleased we are going to re-look at this charge on new agricultural buildings. Since the introduction of CIL to pay for infrastructure, the farming community have felt aggrieved that South Gloucestershire is one of the few areas in the UK where it is applied in this way. I would encourage everyone to take part in the review.”
Links to the minutes of the original meeting where CIL was agreed in 2015 are available here: https://council.southglos.gov.uk/documents/s56199/draft%20minutes%2018%20march%202015.pdf
Details of the original CIL proposals are available here: https://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=143&MId=6903
A link to the published executive decision to consult and review is available here: https://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?id=1030&LLL=0