Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

Planning policy is a maze of acronyms – ask any planning officer if you don't believe us. A relative latecomer to the party is CIL – or Community Infrastructure Levy. This brief guide will hopefully explain to you exactly what that is and what it means for communities in Southwark. 


So.... what is CIL when it's at home? 

To put it simply CIL is the money that developers pay to a local authority to help it deliver the infrastructure necessary to support  the new development. This money can be used on a wide range of things including  new or safer road schemes, flood defences, schools, hospitals and other health and social care facilities, park improvements, green spaces and leisure centres.  

The ability for a local planning authority to charge the levy came into effect from April 2010. 


So why should it be paid? 

The answer to this question is really about fairness. Almost all development has some impact on the need for infrastructure, services and amenities - or benefits from it - so it is only fair that such development pays a share of the cost. It is also right that those who benefit financially when planning permission is given should share some of that gain with the community which granted it to help fund the infrastructure that is needed to make development acceptable and sustainable.  

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(This was the best stock photo we could find...)


What exactly is infrastructure? 

The Planning Act, from which the CIL policy originated, provides a wide definition of the type of infrastructure that can be funded by the levy. As mentioned above, this includes transport, schools, hospitals, and other health and social care facilities. The fact that the definition is wide allows the money levied to be used to fund a broad range of facilities such as play areas, parks and green spaces, cultural and sports facilities, police stations etc etc. In theory this gives local communities flexibility to choose what infrastructure they want. 


So who decides how much is paid? 

Authorities who charge the levy, such as Southwark council, have to propose a rate which doesn't put off developers investing in their area. They also need to draw on the infrastructure planning that underpins the development strategy for their area. They can then use this evidence to try and strike a balance between wanting to improve and add to current infrastructure and the potential effects of the charge upon the economic viability of developments. Simply put – in the current world of regeneration and development, developers need to be guaranteed a certain level of profits. If the CIL rate is too high it takes too big a bite out of said profits.


When does it have to be paid? 

Most buildings that people normally use will be liable to pay the levy. Simple. The levy must be charged in pounds per square metre on the net additional increase in floorspace of any given development. This is so that any redevelopment of existing sites isn't discouraged (such as improving living conditions in existing housing estates). 

For example if a site was redeveloped and increased in size from 200 square metres to 220 square metres, the levy would apply to the additional 20 square metres.

Any new build (a new building or extensions) only has to pay the levey if it has 100 square metres, or more, of gross internal floor space, or involves the creation of additional dwellings.  

Whilst any new build over this size will be subject to the Community Infrastructure Levy, the gross floorspace of any existing buildings on the site that are going to be demolished will be deducted from the final liability. 


How much does Southwark charge?

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What projects are funded in Southwark? 

Southwark Council have committed to spend 25% of Southwark CIL receipts on priorities that should be agreed with the local community in areas where development is taking place. The 25% of receipts raised each year will be allocated through Community Infrastructure Project List (CIPL). This is your chance to suggest how some of the money is spent!

Current approved CIPLs for each community council area: 


Get involved - suggest projects for the CIPLs 

To submit any ideas for the local community infrastructure projects you can email planning.cil@southwark.gov.uk. Officers will advise on the project and if it fits with the projects in our Cleaner Greener Safer programme. 

Who can suggest projects? 

  • Anyone who lives, works or studies in Southwark 

  • Local groups - for example: tenants and residents groups, youth groups, faith groups, community groups or sports clubs 

Once funding for a suitable local development is secured an officer will develop and manage the project in consultation with the developer and the local community.


If you have any questions about CIL, or would like help in submitting your ideas for projects, don't hesitate to get in touch! Engage@communitysouthwark.org 

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.