Local Plan – Whole Plan Viability Testing

Doncaster Council is preparing a new Local Plan that will have a big influence on the amount and location of new development across the borough in the period up to 2032.

National planning policy requires the planning system to take account of development viability when deciding planning applications and preparing the Local Plan.  Sites identified in Local Plans must be deliverable by avoiding a scale of policy requirements (e.g. affordable housing, infrastructure contributions, design standards, etc.) that together risks their ability to be developed. The Council therefore needs to demonstrate that sites proposed will provide a competitive return to a willing landowner and developer after factoring in the normal costs of development throughout the highs and lows of the economic cycle.

The Council commissioned the Valuation Office Agency's District Valuer Services (DVS) to undertake an independent 'Whole Plan Viability Testing' for the Local Plan in 2016. The assessment has been prepared in line with national planning policy and guidance and the Local Housing Delivery Group and RICS best practice guidance.

At plan-making stage, an area-wide viability testing model has been used as detail around specific sites will be unknown. As such, viability testing uses a number of assumptions (e.g. average sales values, build costs, professional fees etc.) based on reasonably available evidence.  We have actively engaged with developers and others to help ensure the assumptions adopted within the appraisal are realistic.

Please note, the review of emerging Local Plan policies was undertaken against an earlier version of the Local Plan document so policy references included in this report no longer align with the latest set of draft policies. However, there have been no changes to the policy asks/requirements, other than those directly relating to the findings of this viability study, as policy drafting is an iterative process in respect to viability. For example, the affordable housing policy now proposes a variable requirement rather than the original proposed 25% across the borough that was tested and found to be problematic in market areas of low-medium value.

Doncaster Local Plan ViabilityTesting
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Last updated: 06 March 2019 15:13:49