Planning Policy – Plan Viability, CIL, Strategic Sites, Employment Land

Planning Policy – Plan Viability, CIL, Strategic Sites, Employment Land

Town and country planning has been a fundamental part of land ownership and development since the housing and public health codes of the industrial revolution and we are fully engaged in the planning process at all levels. Our skills as Chartered Surveyors and RICS Registered Valuers as well as Chartered Town Planners means that we are ideally placed to advise on economic viability which is a fundamental part of plan making and decision taking in planning.

Planning Policy

Our services provide an essential part of the market research and evidence base to support policy development, including: the production of masterplans; the formulation of Area Action Plans; financial modelling for Local Plan Viability including Affordable Housing viability and Community Infrastructure Levy.

Local Plan and CIL Viability Assessments

AspinallVerdi has extensive knowledge and experience in planning policy formulation. We bring together a broad range of planning and development services into one fully integrated property regeneration practice.

We inform the strategic investment priorities of the public sector including: Affordable Housing, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Local Development Orders; and Business Improvement Districts.  We are a senior level team used to providing evidence for Planning Hearings and Examinations.

Local and CIL Viability Assessment involves comprehensive local property market and land market research; cumulative policy analysis; typology analysis; strategic site deep-dives; industry and stakeholder consultation; appraisal modelling and sensitivity testing.  We always strive to provide pragmatic advice on the trade-offs and balance between planning requirements, land value and profit. We have experience of advocacy at Examinations in Public.

We have advised numerous Local Planning Authorities on area wide viability including: Greater Cambridgeshire Shared Planning (Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council); Swindon Borough Council; Northampton Borough Council; Selby District Council; South Oxfordshire District Council; Vale of White Horse District Council; Central Bedfordshire Council; South Lakeland District Council; Craven District Council; Harborough District Council; London Borough of Sutton; Waveney District Council; the Black Country Authorities (Sandwell, Wallsall, Dudley and Wolverhampton); West Oxfordshire District Council amongst others. 

Land Value Capture

A common thread throughout the government’s attempts to solve the housing crisis is ‘land value capture’. This is a mechanism by which the ‘windfall’ value from planning allocations and permissions (particularly on greenfield sites with a low / agricultural existing use value) is ‘captured’ to help co-fund infrastructure, affordable housing and high-quality design.  AspinallVerdi has the key skills required in planning, valuation, site assembly, compulsory purchase etc. to be able to advise Authorities and Garden Town Development Corporations on working with landowners.

Infrastructure and Growth

Our skills in financial viability, funding and delivery mechanisms are key to ‘unlocking’ sites to deliver infrastructure and growth. We are often retained by strategic land companies and/or local authorities to test the viability of strategic development areas (SDAs) vis-à-vis the timing and phasing of infrastructure.  This could be to support plan making (e.g. affordable housing viability and CIL) or delivery (e.g. phasing and trigger points for infrastructure, CIL off-setting mechanisms etc).

Employment Land Reviews

We are trusted by our clients to provide the appropriate robust evidence base to support site allocations and de-allocations for employment uses for plan making purposes.  Our knowledge on development delivery and interpretation of market data is key to informing our assessments on site suitability across the plan period and in the context of the wider market.

Housing – Strategic Land

A large part of our work is advising on the long-term planning, viability and delivery mechanism for strategic urban extensions, garden suburbs and new towns. This can involve site assembly, influencing the development plan, funding primary infrastructure and affordable housing viability.

Financial Modelling

We have experience of preparing viability models using Argus Developer and creating bespoke cashflow models in Excel.  We are also well versed in using the various development appraisal ‘toolkits’.

Site Specific Viability Appraisals

We also act for Local Planning Authorities to review developer’s viability statements.  We are on Local Authority panels of economic appraisers and also work on specific schemes where there is a viability issue.  Our valuation and appraisal skills enable us to ‘challenge’ the developer’s assumptions to ensure they are robust.

Best Practice

We have provided pro-bono services to both the RICS and RTPI.  We were on the RICS steering group which authored the Assessing Viability in Planning under the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 for England.  We have also sat on the RTPI England Policy Panel. 

For further information about our services browse our case studies