Case Studies

Harrogate Sites and Policies Examination

Economic Viability Assessments

Commercial Estates Group

Background

AspinallVerdi was retained by Commercial Estates Group to provide a hearing statement for the Harrogate Borough Council Sites and Policies DPD examination – Matter 4: Homes for local people.

The evidence centered on the viability of the Council’s affordable housing policy.

Scope

Our evidence involved - 

  • A review of best practice including the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF); Local Housing Delivery Group, 'Viability Testing Local Plans' (the Harman report); and the RICS Professional Guidance, 'Financial viability in planning'.
  • Presenting a clear economic rationale for local market evidence in respect of determining the ‘Threshold Land Value’.
  • Preparing a critique of the Councils economic viability evidence which was heavily caveated by the consultants.
  • Demonstrating the inconsistencies between the Council’s plan policy requirements and the evidence base provided by the Councils consultants e.g. differing tenure mixes.
  • Presenting our own residual land value appraisal and sensitivity analysis to show the impact on TLV for varying levels of affordable housing (25% to 50%) and Community Infrastructure Level (CIL) (£0 psm to £85 psm). 

Outcome

Shortly after submitting our evidence the Inspector raised fundamental concerns about the Plan.  Given the amount of work that would be required in order to address these concerns, the Inspector invited the Council to consider withdrawing the Sites and Policies DPD from examination which it did.

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Harrogate Sites and Policies Examination