Inspector approves Gosport council levy to charge developers for sites

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  • Government inspector John Wilde has approved Gosport council’s community infrastructure levy
  • It means the council can charge developers per square metre of a site
  • The charges for residential developments range from £40 to £100
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A COUNCIL has been given the go-ahead to charge developers when they build new homes.

An independent inspector has agreed that Gosport Borough Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy will work.

There are no charges on the likes of hotels or developments that could bring in jobs

Councillor Mark Hook

The plan looks at charging developers a price per square metre of a site to help pay for costs such as transport, schools, open spaces and community facilities.

Now it has been found sound by inspector John Wilde, the council will consider adopting the plan at a meeting tomorrow.

The costs range from £40 to £100 a sq m for residential developments, depending on the location of the site within the town.

In the Rowner area, the charge is £60/sq m for less than 10 houses and zero for more than 10 houses, in Lee-on-the-Solent and Stokes Bay, the rates increase to £100 for any number of houses.

Elsewhere in the town the charge is £100 for less than 10 houses and £80 for more than 10 houses. A rate of £60 will be used for retail warehouses and supermarkets with other non-residential sites escaping a charge.

In his report, Mr Wilde found the charges will not affect the future of development in Gosport. He published his report following a hearing held in March.

It said: ‘The council has sufficient evidence to support the schedule (charging rates) and can show that the levy is set at a level that will not put the overall development of the area at risk.

‘The council’s decision to set varying rates for different areas is based on reasonable assumptions about development values and likely costs.

‘The evidence suggests that residential and commercial development will remain viable across most of the area if the charge is applied.’

Leader of the council Mark Hook said he hoped the charges would encourage more businesses to come to the area.

‘There are no charges on the likes of hotels or developments that could bring in jobs,’ he said.

‘From a housing development point of view, there are areas that we want to build up and improve and then there are areas which are already established.’

Cllr Hook added the levy had been considered by the council since 2013 when the government introduced the scheme.