Think Tank Articles

CIL Article 03:
Following the Regulations & Common Pitfalls

CIL - Community Infrastructure Levy

Building your own home can be stressful to say the least. Adding Planning into the mix creates a messy subject with its numerous levels of policy, legislation and varying interpretations of planning officers.


CIL is a relatively new level of policy introduced in 2010. Since then, it’s been adopted by some local authorities enabling them to fund local infrastructure to support development in the area. To find out more about CIL, read our introduction here.


Following the Guidelines

It has been demonstrated in recent lawful proceedings that courts will support LPAs in their strict application of CIL Regulations. Any divergence from regulations will mean the LPA are entitled to refuse grants for relief and immediate payment of CIL will be due.

Its equally important to remember that the Planning/Section 106, Building Regulations and CIL notifications are all different from each other. One notification from one regime will not satisfy the requirement of another.



Applying for exemptions can be an easy process if you know what you’re doing, and the forms are submitted in the correct order on time.

If a CIL relief or an exemption can be claimed, make sure this applied for and granted prior to the commencement of development. Early preparation and execution of this process is key.

Forms for exemption can be found on the Planning Portal website and you can find out how to do this by reading our handy guide.

Deadlines are Deadlines

The system is a prescriptive policy and there is little room for flexibility. Deadlines are everything and if they are missed, serious consequences will occur.


Difficulty can arise when a ‘Commencement Notice’ is not served on time, or at all. Prior to the development commencing on site, you must serve the LPA with a ‘Commencement Notice’ which tells the LPA when development will start. This needs to be done at least one day before development commences.


As previously mentioned, if applying for a relief or exemption, it is critical that development must not commence until the LPA has formally notified the applicant of its decision in relation to an exemption.


The onus is on the applicant to ensure the notice is submitted AND received by the LPA. Failure to serve the Commencement Notice can have serious consequences including surcharges and the loss of any exemptions of reliefs. Further to these consequences, the ability to pay the CIL charge in instalments will not be permitted and the full charge will be payable immediately.


Bear in mind that carrying out any material operation on site qualifies as a commencement of work for the purposes of CIL. This includes demolition, raising hoarding, carrying out archaeological investigation and/or preparation works.


Disqualifying Events

A disqualifying event is one which goes against the conditions set out in the relief/exemption notice received from the LPA. For example, within 6 months of completing a self-build project, you must submit additional supporting evidence along with the relevant CIL form.

Failure to do this in the 6-month time frame will result in the fully levy charge becoming payable in full.

Evidence should include proof of ownership, proof of completion date and proof of occupation of the dwelling as your principal residence. You will also have to provide a copy of either an approved claim for VAT refund, a special self-build warranty or an approved self-build mortgage from a bank or building society.


In the case of charitable purposes or social housing, if the development ceases to be used for those purposes within a period of seven years then CIL relief will become payable. With self-build housing, the clawback period is three years.

Retrospective Applications

So, what happens with CIL if you make an application for planning permission after development has taken place on site? CIL is charged on development for which planning permission is granted and so the levy will be chargeable on any development which receives retrospective planning permission.


The difficulty here arises in relation to reliefs and exemptions from the CIL charge. An exemption requires the submission of a ‘Commencement Notice’ which is served before development starts on site. CIL regulations states that the date of commencement in retrospective planning applications is the date it is granted permission so, unfortunately, a commencement notice cannot be served as work has already commenced.


Careful thought is required before the submission of a retrospective application. Ideally, you’d want to avoid this but, in some cases it will be the only way forward to regularise development. We’ve created a step-by-step guide for navigating the CIL process to help you along the way.