Boyes Turner’s development & house building team have successfully challenged a decision by a local Authority to charge CIL on a barn conversion which had been undertaken as a self-build project by their clients.
Planning permission for conversion of barn
The clients had secured a planning permission for conversion of a redundant barn and in the usual course of completing the CIL documentation submitted a claim for exemption from CIL as self-builders. The local authority concerned rejected the application for exemption, stating that the self-build exemption was not intended to apply to conversions of existing buildings, only to new build housing constructed on plots of land. A request for a review of the decision was made under the procedures set out under the CIL regulations but the review confirmed the Council’s previous position.
Challenging the refusal of application for exemption
Boyes Turner’s development & housebuilding team were instructed to consider the position and take appropriate steps to challenge the Council’s decision. With only a limited time available before expiry of the period for bringing Judicial Review proceedings, we issued the required pre-action protocol letter to the Local Authority, challenging the refusal of application for exemption on the grounds that there was nothing in the primary legislation or within the CIL regulations which excluded the operation of the self-build exemption in the case of building conversion projects.
Boyes Turner were successfully able to draw the Local Authorities attention to the separate treatment of conversion projects and new build developments elsewhere within the regulations, unlike in the case of the application to the self-build regulations. The Council’s attention was also drawn to the general policy of favouring self-build projects espoused by Government both within the CIL regime and generally under planning policy. Boyes Turner argued it would be contrary to such policy to seek to exclude conversion projects from the self-build exemptions.
Victory secured for our client
On the very day proceedings were due to be issued in the High Court, the Local Authority confirmed it would be revoking its previous review of the CIL assessment and classifying the development as being exempt from CIL (provided the self-build developers fully comply with the rest of the procedures for the successful claiming of that exemption).
The reversal of this decision has saved our client nearly £80,000; an expense which would have substantially undermined their ability to carry out their self-build project had it not been overturned.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.