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Track Records

Development Viability 


Hackbridge Urba_TR.jpg


Mid-Suffolk District Council 


S106 Viability Review, Stradbroke 


The applicant was seeking to bring forward a development of 89 dwellings on a greenfield site in the village of Stradbroke in Suffolk. The number of dwellings proposed was more than the 75 dwellings identified in the local plan policy. The applicant was seeking a reduction in the council’s affordable housing policy requirement of 35% on grounds of viability. The council was seeking advice on whether the applicant’s viability assessment was reasonable and whether a development based on the local plan allocation is viable. 


Urbà reviewed the applicant’s viability assessment, this involved researching new build sale values based on published data and reviewing construction costs through benchmarking against Build Costs Information Service (BCIS). Urbà based their land value assessment on the Existing Use Value plus Premium method. Urbà’s viability assessment has followed best practice set out in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on viability and RICS Professional Statement, Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting.


Urbà advised the council how affordable housing could be maximised as well ensuring a reasonable developer and landowner return. 



Norris Castle


Global Technical Solutions


Cross-funding and S106 viability Assessment, Norris Castle and Norris Estate, Isle of Wight


The client is seeking planning permission to redevelop Norris Castle and the Norris Estate. The site lies adjacent to the Osborn Estate, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s summer home and rural retreat. But it was Norris Castle where the young Princess Royal stayed.  The redevelopment includes works to heritage assets, including Grade I listed buildings which are on the assets at risk register. The development proposals include; 74 key hotel resort and spa facilities with cross funding development of residential and sui generis uses.  


Urbà has been instructed to provide a robust report which will demonstrate to Historic England (HE) and the Local Planning Authority (LPA) that the proposed development solutions are:

1) Optimum Viable Use for the heritage assets – as defined in HE 2020 GPA 4: Enabling Development and Heritage Assets. 

2) Optimum Viable Use creates a Conservation Deficit - as defined in HE 2020 GPA 4: Enabling Development and Heritage Assets. 

3) Additional development is required to cross fund the Conservation Deficit – a balance needs to be struck that the cross funding development is sufficient to meet the conservation deficit and not there to extract additional profit from the scheme. 

In undertaking the assessment Urbà has followed best practices set out in:

  •  Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on viability.

  •  PPG on historic environment.

  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Professional Statement, Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting, May 2019. 

  • RICS Assessing viability in planning under the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 for England,1st edition, March 2021. 

  • HE 2020 GPA 4: Enabling Development and Heritage Assets.

  • HE 2016 Stop the Rot, A Guide to Enforcement Action to Save Historic Buildings.


Urbà’s robust viability report includes: 

  • Review of local plan policies which assesses those which impact viability.  

  • Research into the hotel and leisure, residential and retail markets to support the values in the appraisals. 

  • Benchmarking of new build development costs to demonstrate they are reasonable to use in the appraisals.

  • Land value assessment using the Existing Use Value plus Premium method set out in the PPG and RICS guidance. 

  • Assessment of development phasing to optimise value. 

  • Detailed development appraisals, with cashflow ,using a bespoke MS Excel model– the development appraisals have been used to demonstrate the viability case. 

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