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Oct 16 2012

Harrow Council at forefront of bringing economic growth benefits

Harrow Council is pushing forward with reforms to its planning processes designed to support new infrastructure and regeneration across the borough.

Harrow Council is pushing forward with reforms to its planning processes designed to support new infrastructure and regeneration across the borough. On Thursday, the Council’s Cabinet approved consultation on a new, borough wide “infrastructure levy” that is expected to raise over £20m to support the borough’s planned growth.

Unlike the existing procedure (known as S106 planning gain), the Council expects to engage with communities on the way in which the money is spent – in response to the requirements in the recent legislation. This should also enable the community to see more clearly how new developments can contribute positively to improving infrastructure and facilities in the borough.

The powers to impose a levy were introduced by the Government to allow local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in their area. To date, only a handful of councils nationwide have taken advantage of the reforms. Harrow’s levy will apply a £110 per square metre charge for large new extensions, new homes and a charge of £100 for shops, takeaways and café/restaurants. Proposals for new House in multiple occupation, hotels and student accommodation will face a reduced charge of £55 per square metre. Proposals for all other uses, including offices and employment will not be subject to the charge.

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, Cllr Keith Ferry, said: “We are eager to introduce the Harrow Community Infrastructure Levy to ensure the many benefits that development can bring are shared across the entire community. We have tried to set our charges with sensitivity towards the current economic climate to ensure development supports our long-term vision.”

Harrows’ proposed draft charging schedule for residential homes compares favorably with those of other London Boroughs including Brent (£200 per square Metre), Hillingdon (£90 psm) and Barnet (£135 psm) and is based upon an assessment of development viability conducted to support the proposals.

Source: Harrow Council

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