Horsham District Council
Local Plan Viability Assessment
The council required their draft policies in their new local plan to be tested for viability. Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) requires viability testing at this stage to ensure the total cumulative cost of all relevant policies will not undermine the deliverability of the plan. The testing was to reflect the planned growth in the district which included a range of uses; residential, elderly accommodation, build to rent, retail, offices and industrial. In addition, the council sought advice on the viability of the proposed strategic sites as they had specific site constraints.
Whilst at AspinallVerdi Stuart Cook, Director at Urbà was project lead. Stuart led on the property market analysis to inform the value inputs. Stuart advised on the appropriate typologies to test based on analysis of the planned growth. A review of the draft policies was undertaken and those which would have a direct impact on viability were identified. Policy costs included; affordable housing, carbon reduction, water efficiency, sustainability, bio diversity net gain and accessibility. Development costs were based on standardised inputs. An assessment of land value was undertaken using the prescribed method in the PPG and RICS guidance of Existing Use Value plus Premium. Stuart created a bespoke MS Excel to test the viability of the typologies and sensitivity analysis was undertaken. Consultations were undertaken with the strategic site promoters via MS Teams.
Stuart provided the client with a detailed viability report which provided clear recommendations of policy options. The report forms part of the council's evidence base for the new local plan.
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Employment Land Review
The council were reviewing the Local Plan and required an Employment Land Review (ELR) as part of their evidence base documents. The purpose of the ELR was to inform which sites should be protected and allocated for employment uses or those sites released for alternative uses.
Whilst at AspinallVerdi Stuart Cook, Director at Urbà was instructed along with Peter Brett Associates (now Stantec) to undertake the study. Stuart undertook analysis of the office and industrial markets, in doing so, he analysed the quality of the current stock to meet occupier requirements and whether there were any gaps in the market (i.e. whether occupiers could not meet their requirements?). Stuart also assessed whether demand for employment space was viable.
Stuart provided a detailed market report that was included in the PBA study which formed part of the evidence base for the Local Plan which was adopted in January 2020.