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Shropshire is in danger of becoming a ‘development backwater’ thanks to new charges brought in by the county council on house builders.
This is the claim of a leading county architect who says that the newly-imposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will stifle economic growth in the local authority and drive house builders out.
“Shropshire is one of only four councils in the country to charge this levy on house builders and it will have a direct and devastating effect on property development here,” said Vic Johnson of Bridgnorth-based Johnson Design Partnership.
“This stealth tax is in danger of turning the county into a backwater – new homes are desperately needed and will form part of the economic revival of the area,” he said.
Vic said that the exact amount charged by the council for each new home built was unclear as yet but thought to start at around £10,000 per house for sites started this year. It would particularly effect small developers as large building firms would have a lesser liability under the new regime, which started on January 1 2012.
He is so concerned about issue that he has met with south Shropshire MP Philip Dunne and has been invited by Telford and Wrekin Council to address its cabinet on the matter.
“We have evidence that developers are being driven to Telford and Wrekin, where at the moment the levy is not being imposed. I have been asked by their senior economic development officer there to talk to members there about the detrimental effect it will have on their communities if they go the same way as Shropshire.
“Despite statements to the contrary the new CIL taxation regime imposed on small residential schemes is none negotiable and will mean that thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds will be added to the cost to each new project, effectively creating an environment which is the opposite of an Enterprise Zone,” Vic said.