Site Specific Viability Assessments (VA) for S106

Site Specific Viability Assessments (VA) for S106

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.

We have extensive experience of undertaking Viability Assessments (VAs) on behalf of private and public sector clients for both residential and commercial development schemes. We are RICS Registered Valuers, Mediators and Chartered Town Planners. We are regular speakers at RTPI conferences on development economics and viability.

S106 Negotiations for Developers

We prepare Viability Assessments to support S106 negotiations to enable schemes to come forward by ‘unlocking’ affordable housing contributions to ensure scheme viability. These tend to be complex schemes involving either brownfield land, extensive abnormal costs and/or build to rent etc.

We provide robust advice in respect of the existing use value and premium for land in accordance with the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

This may involve a reduction in the affordable housing target % and/or sophisticated analysis of the scheme mix/tenure and phasing of infrastructure. Our viability assessments are based on detailed cashflow appraisals and robust market analysis.

Viability Advice to Planners

We 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.

All our reports are carried out in accordance with the RICS Financial Viability in Planning: Conduct and Reporting Practice Statement and the RICS Assessing Viability in Planning under the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 for England Guidance Note having regard to the latest revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). 

We always seek to provide robust, evidence based and pragmatic recommendations to ensure optimal outcomes.  We also provide expert witness services for Planning Appeals.

We are on various Local Planning Authority frameworks for S106 viability including, inter alia: Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council; Central Bedfordshire District Council; Bradford Metropolitan District Council; West Oxfordshire District Council; Harborough District Council; Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council etc.

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’.

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 towns and villages. This can involve site assembly, influencing the development plan, funding primary infrastructure and affordable housing viability.

Heritage & Listed buildings

We can assist with feasibility studies and funding to address buildings which have heritage or listed status. This includes making the case for enabling development and optimum viable use.

This often involves the review of a site’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and constraints in order to advise upon the redevelopment options for particular uses. We are able to fully appreciate a site’s potential from all perspectives including the aspirations of the landowner and local authority as well as the appetite from the private sector development community.

Build to Rent

We have a thorough understanding of the build to rent sector. We were involved in the government’s private rented sector (PRS) taskforce following the Montague Review of institutional investment into the private rented sector.  Since then, we have worked alongside investors and developers to research and test the feasibility of projects throughout the UK.  We carried out a substantial feasibility study into build to rent housing in Stoke for the City Council and Homes England.  This included appraising the capacity and financial modelling four significant regeneration sites within the city and market testing these with our database of PRS investors. We also helped to deliver the first significant purpose built PRS scheme in Leeds at Belle Vue Mills and have appraised schemes in Leeds, Chesterfield, Leicester and Stoke on Trent.

Older Persons Housing

Older Persons Housing is a specialist sector and we have acted for McCarthy & Stone and various Local Planning Authorities.  Projects include Kendal Magistrates’ Court (McCarthy & Stone) and Kendal Porsche Centre (Churchill Retirement Living) for South Lakeland District Council; and Inspired Villages Sonning Common Senior Living appeal for South Oxfordshire DC.

Key issues in this sector are the room sizes; common areas; sales rates and service charges.


Planning, development and regeneration is a complex process and we appreciate that sometimes disputes can arise.  Our extensive experience of project delivery enables us to help settle disputes where they arise.  Mediation can lead to successful cost-effective outcomes as opposed to appeals and litigation.  Ben Aspinall is an RICS Accredited Mediator.  

Development Management and Advisory

This encompasses a number of services including feasibility studies; options analysis; development management etc. in order to provide comprehensive and rounded advice. Bespoke reporting can meet the specific requirements of the client in order to progress a particular scheme to a successful outcome. 

For further information about our services browse our case studies