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Viability Planning

Planning Contacts: Lee Scott BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI Associate t 01798 345971 e lee.scott@smithsgore.co.uk

Sarah Hufford BA (Hons) PGDipUP MRTPI Consultant t 01798 345995 e sarah.hufford@smithsgore.co.uk

Development viability contacts: Sarah Mason MPhil (Cantab) MRICS RICS Registered Valuer Associate t 01732 879068 e sarah.mason@smithsgore.co.uk

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David Parry FRICS RICS Registered Valuer Consultant t 01732 879063 e david.parry@smithsgore.co.uk


St Anne House, 20 – 26 Wellesley Road, Croydon

Bracknell Forest, Berkshire

Land at Pyecombe, Sussex

What is Viability Planning?

Case study Ex amples:

Viability has been put firmly at the heart of the planning process, most notably with the publication of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012. This seeks to boost sustainable economic growth through the delivery of viable Development Plans and consents. This is particularly important given the challenging economic climate and predications that this is set to continue.

Development Viability Assessment

The NPPF requires Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), when preparing Development Plans and determining applications, to pay careful attention to viability and make sure that they do not overburden development with costly policy requirements and obligations that would render development unviable. This can include excessive payments towards the cost of infrastructure obtained through Section 106 Agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedules. In obtaining consents for our clients, and influencing planning policy on their behalf, Smiths Gore seeks to deliver outcomes which realise genuine and significant site value uplift. This means providing planning appraisals informed by profitable outcomes rather than simply analysing policy; delivering profitable & implementable consents; seeking downwards revision to CIL schedules and successfully challenging Local Plan and S106 requirements where these are unrealistic. Collectively, this work comprises Viability Planning.

Proposed Conversion from Office Use to Hotel and Residential Uses St Anne House, 20 – 26 Wellesley Road, Croydon • Appointed by the London Borough of Croydon to independently review a financial viability assessment prepared by the planning applicant’s consultant. • The purpose was to advise the Council as to whether the proposed conversion from office use to a 144 bedroom hotel and 46 residential apartments on the upper floors could financially include the provision of affordable housing. • Our viability review included input from our commercial valuers in order to establish the current use / benchmark value of the existing 13 storey office building. • Discrepancies were found between our measurements, conversion costs, estimated Section 106 contributions, current use value, anticipated Gross Development Value, and the applicant’s consultant’s report. • Our findings and recommendations were made to the Council which concluded that the proposed scheme was financially capable of providing a reduced quota of affordable housing, as opposed to the applicant’s consultant, who advised that no affordable tenure properties could be afforded.

Development Viability Assessments Development Viability Assessment is something we carry out for public, private and institutional landowners and developers in urban, edge of town and rural locations. Such assessments are used to:• Assess the planning feasibility of prospective strategic development land; • Assess land value and a potential capital receipt, including timing; • Assess the impact on land value of the different forms of development/densities; • Assess the deliverability of planning policies including Section 106 contributions, CIL payments and affordable housing quotas; • Demonstrate the viability of schemes within planning applications, including why polices cannot be met; • Assess the amount of enabling development to secure the long term future of a place of Heritage significance; • Analyse the effect of altered market conditions and funding rates; and • Provide formal valuations for funding purposes. For clients considering development, we seek to optimise the potential capital receipt, often working with architects and planners and other professional consultants. Examples of our work span a range of project types including conversions of farm buildings, single plots, medium range housing schemes including flatted blocks, 1000 unit strategic schemes, schemes enabling restoration of major historic structures such as at Western Heights, a major redoubt overlooking the English Channel at Dover; a mixed use scheme in Croydon in excess of 50 storeys in height; and assisted living schemes along the South Coast.

CIL Representations Warfield, Bracknell Forest, Berkshire • Recently acted for a major strategic landowner in submitting representations relating to the proposed preliminary CIL tariff within Bracknell Forest Borough Council area, together with providing comment on a viability study prepared by their consultants. • The assessment related to Zones 1 and 2 of the approved Warfield SPD area, which is expected to provide 1442 dwellings. • Our work included undertaking thorough research and analysis of actual up-to-date residential values across the Borough, in order to reflect end values likely to be achieved for a new build large-scale residential development. • We prepared residual land appraisals to test the preliminary CIL tariff, along with the incorporation of affordable housing requirements (involving specialised calculations) to accord with the Local Planning Authority’s policy, along with other Section 106 / 278 requirements. • An assessment of the current use / benchmark value was carried out in order to compare with the redevelopment land value, the latter of which needs to reflect a significant uplift to incentivise a landowner to sell. • Our recommendations suggested a revised CIL tariff.

Development Viability Appr aisal Land at Pyecombe, Sussex • Initial consideration of planning opportunities for greenfield site in Sussex led to analysis of 3 scales of residential development potential (5, 10 and 20 dwellings); • When all site constraints, covenants, planning policy and likely obligations were analysed it was found that the uplift for the 20 dwelling scheme was marginal but attracted significant additional risk, opposition and time delays; • Armed with comprehensive analysis of planning issues, outturn values and risk, the client is actively pursuing the 10 dwelling scheme.

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Viability Planning  
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