‘We feel cheated over levy plan’, says North Runcton parish council chief

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn ANL-160704-112750009
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn ANL-160704-112750009
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The chairman of a West Norfolk parish council says his area has been “cheated” by plans not to charge a proposed levy on new developments there.

Consultations are continuing on the proposed charging structure of the new community infrastructure levy (CIL) which the borough council hopes to introduce.

But North Runcton parish council fears it will lose out because parts of it fall within the West Winch strategic growth area, where a zero levy is proposed.

Together with their counterparts in West Winch, the council has been developing a neighbourhood plan to set out its vision of what future development in the area would look like.

Last week, Vivienne Spikings, chairman of the borough council’s planning committee, urged other communities to develop a neighbourhood plan which, if adopted, would entitle them to 25 per cent of levy payments in their areas.

But, addressing Tuesday’s parish council meeting, chairman Rick Morrish claimed the proposal for a zero levy was “short-cutting” the process.

He said: “It’s a bit of a smack in the face for us. We have been under the impression we would get 15 per cent as a parish and, with a neighbourhood plan, we would get 25 per cent.

“We feel cheated really by that decision. I know it’s out to consultation but that’s going to be the basis of our reply.”

His comments echo concerns raised last week by the mayor of Downham, John Fox, over an area of land on the edge of the town which has also been designated as a zero levy site.

Several sites in Lynn carry the same rate, while the rest of the town has a £10 per square metre levy proposed.

Under the current plan, for which consultations will continue until next Monday, April 25, the rest of the borough will be split into two areas.

A £40 levy is planned for southern and western parts and a £60 levy to the north and east.

Borough council leaders have previously insisted the structure reflects the difficulty of securing development in the respective areas, claiming developers would be put off from bringing forward projects by higher levies.

But Peter Gidney, one of North Runcton’s representatives on the borough council, agreed with the parish that the proposal was unfair.

He said: “You’ve effectively been disenfranchised. You should have been a party to that consultation.”