Your Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charge may be reduced if your development site:

  • includes existing buildings that have been in continuous lawful use and;
  • those buildings are to be demolished or to be re-used as part of your development.

Qualifying for a reduced charge 

In order to qualify:

  1. The building must be a ‘relevant building’ – it must exist on the land shown within the red line site plan of your planning permission on the day permission first permits your development. Previously demolished buildings are not relevant buildings.
  2. The building, or part of the building, must have been in continuous lawful use for at least six months in the three years ending on the day planning permission first permits development.


In most cases, 'the day planning permission first permits development' is the date of the planning permission. It may be a later date in the case of outline or phased planning permissions. For prior approval or permitted development cases it is the date when a Notice of Chargeable Development is received.

Lawful use criteria

A building is considered in lawful use for CIL purposes when the lawful use is being actively carried out. The fact that a building just has a lawful use which could be carried out isn't sufficient. This follows the High Court Judgment of 'R(Hourhope Ltd) v Shropshire Council [2015] EWHC 518 Admin'.

Whether a building is in lawful use at any time depends on what activities are taking place and what the intentions of the persons using the building are. The amount of activity that you must prove will depend on the type of use. Whether the use has stopped depends on the length of time, reasons for the break in use and the intentions of the property users.

It is your responsibility to provide evidence that any building, or part of the building, has been in continuous lawful use for at least six months in the three years ending on the day planning permission first permits your development.

Evidence may include proof of Business Rates or Council Tax payments, photographs showing the building in the use claimed, sworn statements of people who can confirm the use claimed, or utility or other bills relating to the use claimed.

The council may ask for more evidence of the use if this is not clear. If there isn't enough information to prove that any buildings have been in lawful continuous use for the requisite period, we may not count the floorspace of the buildings as a deduction from your CIL charge.

If you have any questions please contact CIL@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

More information

Further information can be found on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) homepage.