DWS, SJ Berwin oversee first instances of ‘roof tax’ system

SJ Berwin oversee first instances of ‘roof tax’ system” />Denton Wilde Sapte’s (DWS) and SJ Berwin’s real estate departments have advised on the first commercial development to utilise a ‘roof tax’ system that could form a model for an alternative to the Government’s controversial planning gain supplement tax.

The roof tax system, being trialled in Milton Keynes, is designed to be fairer on developers, with the costs of associated infrastructure, such as transport facilities, being spread over a timeframe rather than putting the burden for improved infrastructure on the latest development.

Under the system, infrastructure is funded by English Partnerships via the Treasury. The cost is recouped from developers through the roof tax – a levy on either the hectare of commercial developments or the square footage of useable space.

While DWS and SJ Berwin advised on the first commercial development to receive planning permission, South West firm Bevan Brittan has been advising on a Milton Keynes-wide scheme, which includes several residential projects.

DWS head of planning Stephen Ashworth is advising English Partnerships on the roof tax deals, while SJ Berwin planning partner Simon Ricketts led the advice to a joint venture vehicle between Gazeley UK and Land Securities for the commercial development. Milton Keynes’ local authority took advice from its in-house counsel.

The development, known as Nova MK, will develop 100 hectares to the east of Milton Keynes to create logistics and manufacturing space.

The roof tax system is a more popular option among developers and lawyers than the Government’s proposed planning gain supplement, which would levy a tax, rumoured to be as much as 20 per cent, on profits made by landowners selling sites for development.

SJ Berwin planning associate Daniel Farrand, who assisted on the deal, said: “No system is flawless, but the roof tax system has a lot of support.”