Masterplanning / Feasibility
East Suffolk District Council
Lowestoft Town Centre Masterplan
The council were seeking a masterplan to inform the redevelopment of Lowestoft town centre. Lowestoft is located on the coast and was facing many challenges in maintaining a vibrant town centre offer in light of structural changes in the retail market.
Whilst at AspinallVerdi Stuart Cook, Director at Urbà was instructed with DLA Architects to formulate development options. Stuart undertook a market assessment which considered the residential, office, retail and leisure markets. He than ran development appraisals to inform the viability of the development options. Stuart consulted with a number of pop-up operators to understand their requirements. Stuart outlined the various delivery strategies to the client based on their attitude to risk.
Stuart provided the client with a robust report of the findings, which led to follow-on work to consider one of the development parcels in more detail.
Bracknell Forest Borough Council
Assessment of office intensification
The council has been losing office space, predominantly through office to residential permitted development rights (PDR). The council was concerned that due to these loses, they would not be able to demonstrate at the local plan Examination, that they have sufficient supply of sites to meet office demand over the plan period. The council was seeking advice on whether existing office sites could be redeveloped with the space re-provided at a higher density.
Urbà was instructed to assess potential sites that could be suitable for intensification, formulate typologies to test based on the review of sites and run development appraisals of the typologies.
Urbà’s viability assessment followed best practice set out in Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on viability and the RICS Professional Statement, Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting.
Urbà found that the some of the existing office sites could be more physically intensely used, therefore providing an opportunity to increase floorspace provision over the plan period. Urbà’s viability assessments found that in the current market redevelopment of the existing office sites to be unviable, but sensitivity testing showed that with realistic changes in costs and/or yield enabled viable development. Urbà therefore concluded that intensification of existing office sites was a realistic option to help deliver more office space over the plan period.