Viability remains a significant challenge to landowners and developers. That was the strong message that came out of the recent Smiths Gore Planning Team conference in Edinburgh. The firm’s 17 strong planning team from across the UK met to hear about and discuss the latest topical issues affecting planning policy and decision-making.
Says Debbie Mackay, Head of Planning in Scotland at Smiths Gore:
The whole concept of viability embraces a number of different factors. It can assess the impact on land value of different development forms and densities; it should test the practicality of plan policies (including the level of developer contribution): it should test the effect of altered market conditions and interest rates; and it should establish the levels of funding required. It is essential to negotiations over developer contributions and affordable housing.
Richard Thompson, Head of Development in Scotland, Smiths Gore, said:
Appropriate consideration of these factors is vital in ensuring that schemes are viable and that developments stand the best chance of being financially sustainable.
The Smiths Gore planning and development teams work closely together to bring forward sites for development for clients. Debbie Mackay says:
Viability remains an area of fundamental importance and one that, in today’s financial climate particularly, cannot be ignored. Consideration of potential viability at an early stage of a development proposal is vital in ensuring that developments are both deliverable and financially sustainable.
The Smiths Gore Planning Team has increased from 11 – 17 in number in the last two years, operating from 5 offices across England and Scotland.