Viability-Legislation, Policy & Guidance

What is viability

"An individual development can be said to be viable if, after taking account of all costs, including central and local government policy and regulatory costs and the costs and availability of development finance, the scheme provides a competitive return to the developer to ensure that development takes place and generates a land value sufficient to persuade a land owner to sell the land for the development proposed. If these conditions are not met, a scheme will not be delivered."

Local Housing Delivery Group. Viability Testing in Local Plans - Advice for planning practitioners. (LGA/HBF - Sir John Harman) June 2012

What we can do? - Advise you on viability issues.

Viability in Planning and Development

Viability came to the fore with the Blyth Valley v persimmon homes decision (2008)and followed up by Wakefield. The importance of viability to the delivery of development was the driver behind the Harman cross sector report (Viability Testing Local Plans) which was being worked on at the same time as the NPPF which cemented the importance of viability as a tool in planning.

The NPPF sets out when viability needs to be considered paragraph 173 / 174 which refers to the cumulative impact of the council's requirements (CIL/s106, CfSH etc.); para 178 - 181duty to cooperate, work collaboratively, a continuous processand Footnote 11. And for CIL viability considerations are introduced in Regulations 14 - which requires a balance to be made between delivering infrastructure and ensuring development is still deliverable.

The Planning Practice Guide expands on the NPPF in relation to how viability should be considered- www.planningguidance.communities.gov.uk

In addition to the Harman Guidance the RICS produced a guide for their practitioners on viability in planning- is is essential to know and understand Harman but local authorities should stick to Harman for plan making and CIL.