Gilbert Evans warns on Community Infrastructure Levy

Garden centre propery agent Gilbert Evans has said owners considering expanding "should be mindful of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)".

Mike Gilbert
Mike Gilbert

The local planning charge on new development over 100 sq m is levied to help local authorities deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area.

Gilbert Evans said: "Completely separate to S106 agreements, charges vary from one area to the next and being CIL- smart can help keep development costs down. If part of the development is made up of a building which was being lawfully used for six months in the past three years, then that existing floor space can be deducted. CIL is only paid at the point the development is started – not when planning permission is granted."

Gilbert Evans added that, following a positive 2015, "undoubtedly the impact of the storms will adversely affect sales for the early part of 2016.

The company said BlackRock Real Estate’s purchase of the Ferndown Portfolio from LaSalle Investment Management for £112.5 million in a sale and leaseback deal, and Wyevale completing a £91 million sale and leaseback of eight centres to Orchard Street Investment Management, "re-affirmed the appeal of the sector to the investment market" in 2015.

Gilbert Evans said with John Lewis online sales rising "garden centres cannot ignore that consumers are changing their shopping habits if they want to future proof their business. Major groups are investing in multi-channel strategies and reporting growing online sales." The company added that catering, soft play areas, play barns and crazy golf "can be other successful diversions to keep children entertained and extend the garden centre destination experience."

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