Rother District Council (RDC) wishes to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on the construction of new buildings and extensions in its’ area of responsibility. This proposed charge will apply to all new residential properties. While I accept that the Government has reduced the amount of our taxes which it forwards to councils such as Rother for them to spend on their idealistic projects, and that RDC has made savings within its budget I still have to wonder if there could be more progress made in that direction rather than imposing a further tax on the purchasers of new properties.
It is not that it will be a small sum levied on each building. In Brede, listed as part of the Battle area for this exercise, the proposed rate will be £240 per square metre. The average semi-detached family house is about 150 sq m thus imposing an additional cost to the purchaser of £36,000 included in the purchase price, with Stamp Duty paid on the whole amount therefore a £200,000 house would cost £238,360 of which over £38,000 is tax.
Not all of the RDC area would be charged at the same rate, in Bexhill it would be as little as £100 per sq m, still a hefty additional charge but considerably less than elsewhere, Rye area is £160 per sq m.
RDC estimates that it will have a shortfall of expenditure over income of £133 million. I am not surprised. RDC has included the cost of several road improvements in, you’ve guessed it, Bexhill, and grandiose schemes such as £15 million for a Bexhill Leisure Centre, not forgetting the £500,000 plus inflation donated each year to that white elephant, the De La Warr Pavilion.
In an area of the country where there is an acknowledged housing shortage and an unemployment problem it does seem unreasonable to increase the cost of new housing by such enormous amounts. It makes the aspirations of young people with families who wish to own their own homes much more difficult to achieve, consequently placing additional problems on the provision of social housing, which RDC seems unable to address.