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Infrastructure Planning and Planning Contributions

Introduction

Infrastructure planning work helps to ensure that there is a common understanding between service providers, developers, communities and the Council as to what local infrastructure needs are and how and when they will be provided.  Although planning for infrastructure has always been a key consideration, its importance and the need to demonstrate 'deliverability' has gained prominence in recent years. 

Linked to development proposals, the infrastructure planning process will help to ensure that the population of Worthing has the appropriate access to facilities and services.  To help support this aim and the progression of the Core Strategy the Council published an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).  The first version of the IDP (linked below) was published in September 2010 to evaluate the existing conditions and challenges affecting Worthing's infrastructure, develop a new vision for that infrastructure and identify key infrastructure shortfalls and how they can be met.  It is expected that an updated IDP will be published before the end of 2011.

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Planning Contributions

Planning policy requires that development should make appropriate provision of services, facilities and infrastructure to meet its own needs.  This means that where sufficient capacity does not already exist to meet the need created by new occupiers or users, the development should contribute what is necessary, either on site or through a financial contribution.

At present, developer contributions towards infrastructure provision come through Planning Obligations (S106 agreements / unilateral undertakings) attached to planning permissions.  Worthing Council progressed a Draft Planning Contributions SPD in 2007 (linked below) and this document has been used since to help inform development contributions.

The intention was that shortly after the adoption of the Worthing Core Strategy the Council would update the 2007 draft of the Planning Contributions SPD and republish it for further comment.  However, given the emphasis that is now being placed on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) a different approach is now being taken.

It is considered that it would be inefficient to undertake a significant amount of work on updating the existing Planning Contributions SPD when it will be largely superseded when CIL is adopted.  Therefore, as explained in more detail in the CIL report (linked at the end of this page) efforts and resources will be focused on progressing CIL to adoption in Worthing.

Until such time that the Council has adopted CIL and new (complimentary) S106 guidance the 2007 draft version of the Planning Contributions SPD and other guidance relating to outdoor recreation space (see below) will continue to be used to inform discussions relating to the appropriate level of contributions that the Council will expect from developments.

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Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is the new method of collecting money from developments according to their size and type to help fund local and sub-regional infrastructure.  CIL is promoted as being faster, fairer, more certain and transparent than the use of obligations.  For this reason, in November 2010, the Government confirmed that CIL would be the preferred method for collecting infrastructure contributions and in doing so it was announced that severe restrictions would be introduced to reduce the effectiveness of planning obligations. 

The adoption of CIL should assist in the provision of infrastructure not least because of the likely increase in total funding that would arise from the application of the levy to many more developments than are currently made the subject of obligations.  For this, and other reasons, (detailed within the report to the Joint Strategic Committee linked below) the Council has decided to advance work to progress CIL. 

In April 2012 the Council commissioned the Nationwide CIL Service (NSC) to undertake a viability assessment for the Community Infrastructure Levy.  This work will assess the likely impact of a levy on site viability for a range of potential housing, employment and mixed use development scenarios across the Borough.  The assessment, and associated evidence gathering, will be progressed over the summer and when complete it will inform the level of tariff that will be set within the Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule (PDCS).  It is expected that the PDCS will be published for consultation in the autumn. 

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