01280 706250
info@clarenasharchitecture.co.uk

The Community Infrastructure Levy and what it means for self-builders and barn conversions

Community Infrastructure Levy Barns

A piece of legislation has recently been adopted by South Northamptonshire and South Oxfordshire district councils affecting certain developments that have been granted planning permission on or after the 1st April 2016.  This is a charge called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which applies to new residential and retail developments. Most other councils will also now have starting applying this charge.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge that local authorities in England and Wales can choose to place on new developments, usually those with over 100m2 of floorspace, or that create one or more new dwellings.

Please note; this charge only applies if you are creating new-build floor space such as a new-build dwelling or a large home extension (over 100m2). This can also be a mezzanine level in a barn conversion. The CIL charge will apply to the new build floor space only (so the area of the mezzanine or extension) and not to any existing floor area.

It came into force in 2010 and coincides with restrictions on the use of planning obligations (also known as Section 106 agreements).  A CIL enables the local authority to raise more money for local infrastructure improvements than Section 106 obligations. It also provides developers more certainty about costs, as it is a fixed charge.

Section 106 agreements and CIL

The CIL regulations can be complex. However, it is important to consider how it may affect you if intending to convert an existing barn or build/extend a new residential property in the future.

How might the CIL affect a barn conversion?

The good news is that changes of use, such as the conversion of a barn into a dwelling, do not usually attract the CIL for two reasons.  Firstly, a barn conversion does not usually involve creating 100m2 or more of new floorspace.  Secondly, floorspace that has been in legal use for a continuous period of at least six months within the 12 months preceding the granting of planning permission is disregarded when calculating CIL (See Section 40 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations).

Section 40 of the CIL Regulations

But, you might be liable for CIL if your barn conversion involves creating additional new-build floorspace (e.g a mezzanine or extension to the barn). Here the levy would only apply to the additional floor area, not the total building area.

How might the CIL affect self-builds/extensions?

A government initiative to stimulate the self-build market means that a development can also be exempt from the CIL if it is a self-build/extension project.

There are three types of self-build exemptions; for a whole property, for a residential annexe and for a residential extension.

  1. Whole Property

Those claiming exemption must own the property and use it as their primary residence for a minimum of three years post-completion. If the self-builder sells or rents their property within this period, they will be charged the full levy of their area.

  1. Residential extension

If certain criteria are met (see regulations 42A and 42B), then a self-builder will be exempt from paying the levy for extensions. For example; the main house must be the self-builder’s primary residence and only if the proposed extension enlarges the primary residence i.e. it is not an additional unit. Extensions less than 100m2 are already exempt according to the minor development exemption.

Regulations 42A and 42B

In both cases it is important that the correct procedure is followed in order to receive a notice of exemption; including not starting works before this is received. It is important to note that even if these types of projects do not require planning permission, the CIL will still be charged unless exemption applies.

Ultimately, the landowner is responsible for seeking CIL exemption, or, is liable for paying the levy within 60 days of commencement of the works. CIL payments are usually made in cash, but can also be paid “in kind”, for example through land.

CIL charges

Both councils use Charging Zones to determine the CIL cost, and have produced corresponding maps. In South Northants there are three main categories for charges; rural, urban and Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) which range between £50/m2- £200/m2. In South Oxfordshire residential development can be liable for a charge of up to £150/m2. Both councils have produced Charging Schedules that set out the charges and answer FAQs.

South Northants CIL Information

South Northants CIL Charging Schedule

South Oxon CIL Information

South Oxon CIL Charging Schedule

 

October 5, 2016
The Community Infrastructure Levy and what it means for self-builders and barn conversions

Barn use classes & ‘agricultural unit’ clarification

Barn use classesBarn use classes

I have received queries recently about certain elements of permitted development for barns. The first is about how existing barn use classes affect the permitted development. A current project helps to explain this. Two neighbouring barns, each is to be converted for residential use, have slightly different prior approval permissions.  The difference is actually quite minor, and lies in the barns’ original use classes.  One barn conversion is permitted under Class P (change of use from a storage or distribution centre to a dwelling house), and the other falls into Class Q (agricultural buildings to dwelling houses).  Both of these Change of Use Classes have a cap on the area of building that can be converted – for Class P it is 500m2 and for Class Q it is 450m2.

This brings me onto the second query on this subject, which was to do with a Class Q conversion. The official wording states:

Agricultural buildings under 450sq m are permitted to change to Class C3 dwellinghouses, together with some building operations necessary to facilitate the conversion. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, including no more than 3 dwellings within an agricultural unit.

So what constitutes an “agricultural unit”?

The General Permitted Development Order defines an agricultural unit as:

agricultural land which is occupied as a unit for the purposes of agriculture, including— 

(a) any dwelling or other building on that land occupied for the purpose of farming the land by the person who occupies the unit, or 

(b) any dwelling on that land occupied by a farmworker.

This is quite an open definition, the main gist of which seems to come down to whether the buildings and land in question are all a part of the same business enterprise.  For some projects this definition is very straightforward, whereas for others it can be a little more complicated and the boundary of the agricultural unit may not be so clear.  In case of doubt it is best to consult a local authority planning officer.

written by Julia Phillips – architectural assistant at Clare Nash Architecture

June 3, 2016

But having said that…further Barns Permitted Development clarifications

Barns Permitted DevelopmentBarns Permitted Development

RIBA news shows Barns Permitted Development guidance for conversion to dwellings has had further clarification on what exactly is ‘undesirable’. Previously, this was undefined giving councils the right to refuse all kinds of applications because it found the proposed development ‘undesirable’. I have not found this to be a problem so far with any councils that I have worked with. But the need for this clarification shows that some councils are not of the view that barns should be converted to homes. However, one South Northants council officer did say to me “It seems the government wants barns to be converted into dwellings”, so perhaps more councils will be taking this viewpoint in future. It does also seem that overall, it is looking favourable for barn conversions to dwellings for the foreseeable future. The government has taken the time to produce this guidance, which it wouldn’t have done if this was a short term trial. However what happens following the election is as always, unpredictable.

For more on Barn Permitted Development see the following blog posts:

A recent barn conversion to dwelling project that received planning permission see here

If you would like to know more about the change in law for permitted development barn conversion to dwellings, then please see my blog here

 

 

March 20, 2015

Get in quick for barn conversion to dwelling!

barn conversion to dwelling25th January 2015

A little bird told me recently (having attended a high up planning meeting) that the general feeling is that the new permitted development law that came in for barn conversions to dwellings in March 2014 may go out with a change of government. So it would be a good idea if you are thinking of converting a barn into a dwelling to get planning permission in the next few months. However you may not wish to start work in the near future due to other commitments, organising funding etc. But once you have planning permission you could do a small amount of work (this could just be some foundations or repairing stonework) which will secure the planning permission indefinitely. You can then carry on with the rest of the work at a later stage. Do be aware that any building work will need to be signed off by building control and leaving it too long (not signed off) may mean having to redo this work as the regulations may have changed.

If you would like to know more about the change in law for permitted development barn conversion to dwellings, then please see my blog here

My free barn conversions guide may also be of interest: Free Advice

January 25, 2015

Barn Conversion into a Dwelling, a Guide following changes to permitted development rights

Barn Conversion into a dwelling
Although permitted development rights now exist for a barn conversion into a dwelling there are some limits to this and there may well be other reasons for which a planning application is necessary. These are listed below:

  •  No. of dwellings, this is restricted to maximum of 3 per Agricultural Unit under Permitted Development.
  • Amount – the agricultural unit must not exceed 450m2 to be converted under Permitted Development. You could potentially get around this by only converting part of the barn.
  •  Biodiversity – are there bats living in the barn? All barn conversions require a habitat survey to ensure that bats/owls/great crested newts are not living in or around your barn. If evidence of protected species are found, this is not necessarily the end of the development as bat boxes can be provided for example.
  •  Access – there are rules for how far you need to be able to see (called a vision splay) when exiting a driveway, this depends on the speed limit of the road and will need to be presented to the council.
  •  Materials – As most barns are in rural areas, materials and window styles are likely to be an important issue with the local council. They will ideally like to see something that represents the local vernacular. However modern contemporary conversions are also a possibility if they are respectful of the surroundings.
  • Contamination – the local authority may insist on a ground contamination survey as agricultural sites can often be contaminated.
  • Flood risk – If the development is in a flood zone or near to one a flood survey must be carried out and may affect the chances for development.
  • Amount of re-build. Some councils do not accept any re-build while others accept an entire re-build. Although you may apply and receive Prior Approval under Permitted Development, if you want to change the existing appearance of the barn by re-building any part you would need to submit some kind of planning application, potentially only ‘Operations and Demolition in association with the Prior Approval’
  • A pre-application can often be a good idea to test ideas with the council prior to submitting a full application. It is a quicker and cheaper way of exploring the potential options for development of your barn. This is entirely private and not available online so it is also useful for potential buyers to test the water.
  • The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), though generally re-using existing floor space is exempt from CIL, if you are planning any extensions or new-build you could find yourself with a charge. Further reading here

whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to residential use

This extract from the Permitted Development rules in 2014 has since been amended to stop councils preventing barn conversions in the open countryside. Please see my more recent blog explaining the additions to the permitted development rules in 2015. For even more information relating to barn conversions see all of our barn related blogs in one place (under barn conversions on the sidebar to the right).

April 22, 2014