CIL commencement notices: the proof is in the postage
Developers should take heed of the recent appeal to the Planning Inspector (reference APP/M0933/L/17/1200112) where the appellant was handed a surcharge for his failure to submit a commencement notice.
If your local authority has chosen to charge Community Infrastructure Levy ("CIL"), you are required to submit a commencement notice to the CIL collecting authority no later than the day before you start development, per CIL Regulation 67(1). If you do not submit a commencement notice you could be the subject of further charges.
In this appeal, the Planning Inspector acknowledged that CIL is a complex process and therefore sympathised with the appellant. Nonetheless, the appeal was dismissed due to the "inescapable fact" that a commencement notice was not submitted.
In another appeal (reference: APP/W578-/L/12/1200106), a developer was also left out of pocket after its CIL collecting authority did not receive its commencement notice, despite the developer's claims to having sent one.
In order to comply with the CIL Regulations it is therefore important to:
- send your commencement notice by recorded delivery and
- confirm with the collecting authority that they have received the commencement notice.
Even though there is no legal requirement to use recorded delivery, without doing so you will be left bereft of any proof of postage. If your collecting authority subsequently claims that it did not receive your commencement notice then a Planning Inspector will likely conclude that a commencement notice was not submitted.
A sensible approach would also be to chase your collecting authority for confirmation of receipt. Again there is no legal requirement to do so but it would be risky to simply plough ahead with development.
Following these simple procedures will ensure that you comply with CIL regulation 67(1), thereby limiting your liability as you commence development.