Changes to the way a construction levy is agreed in Shropshire could have a second meaning for property developers and landowners.

Solicitor Mark Turner, from FBC Manby Bowdler’s Town and Country Planning team, said anyone creating new residential floorspace, including conversions and new builds, needed to understand the changes Shropshire Council has made to the way it handles phased payments for the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

From now the authority will only allow CIL payments to be made separately for each phase of the development if the planning permission specifically states a development will be in gradual stages.

Mark explained: “Previously, Shropshire Council has taken a more flexible approach, allowing developers to stage CIL payments by submitting reserved matters applications for successive parts of developments, with CIL payments apportioned to each of the phases in alignment with the relevant reserved matters approvals.

“But it has now aligned its approach more closely to the CIL Regulations, and a developer will only benefit from paying CIL in phases if the full or outline planning permission for the scheme expressly identifies those different stages.”

These payments can be a large development cost and are generally payable up-front as soon as the development has started and before any profit is generated, which can impact on cash flow.

“CIL Regulations are extremely complex and are difficult to interpret and apply. Pre-planning preparation will be vital to securing permission for multiple phases, even for small sites.

“People who already have planning permission or who have plans for a development would be advised to seek legal advice to ensure that they don’t end up having to pay out money before they need to.”