A recent decision by the Planning Inspectorate emphasises the need for developers to ensure that the local planning authority (LPA) has received the commencement notice (CN) before starting works on site. 

Where an LPA has a charging schedule in effect for the purposes of CIL, developers implementing a planning permission must ensure that someone has assumed liability to pay the CIL due and that a CN is served on the LPA.  

Under  the CIL Regulations, a CN must be submitted to the LPA at least one day before development commences.  Importantly, the LPA is also required to acknowledge receipt.  

Failing to submit a CN results in any reliefs (social housing, self-build etc.) being lost and may result in the LPA imposing a surcharge (20% or £2,500, whichever is the lesser).  Any right to pay the CIL due in instalments (if available) is also lost and the CIL is due in full on the date the LPA deems commencement to have taken place.  

In this case the developer claimed they sent the CN by email to the LPA, but the LPA maintained they had not received it.  Our advice to developers is to submit the CN by registered post or, if serving by an alternative method, to wait to receive the LPA's acknowledgement before commencing development.