Exeter Greens are leading the charge to claim back millions of pounds for community infrastructure. For the past 6 years, the City Council has charged developers of luxury student housing only half of what other developers pay in a local tax. This tax, known as the Community Infrastructure Levy, raises money for vital local services. In St David’s ward alone, developers contributed almost £1 million less to the Community Infrastructure Levy than they would have done were they paying the same rates as other developers. As the policy would take two years to change, we need to act now before more vital funds are lost to our community.
Green councillor Diana Moore uncovered the current policy and its impacts. She has proposed an alternative way of meeting the shortfall, which was not supported by Labour councillors.
Diana says: “The current charging levies are not fit for purpose. Developers have walked away with huge profits while what they pay through the levy structure has failed to provide the local infrastructure necessary for such developments. A new charging structure which abolishes the 50% lower rate for student developments is long overdue. Given the significant and vibrant contribution students make to life in Exeter, it would be reasonable that a new form of relief be applied, but only where truly affordable accommodation is to be provided. We need affordable homes for all young people in the city.”
As a result of this campaign, reform of the developer's levy is now firmly on the Council's agenda. The Council agreeing to reform the charging rates in July 2019. But Labour and Conservative Councillors rejected a Progressive Group motion to ensure that developers pay their way until the new levy comes into place.
This is the Express and Echo’s write up of what happened at the council meeting: https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/another-18-months-before-50-3154689