Viability assessments

What is a viability assessment?

If you are planning a major development, you may need a viability assessment. Viability assessment is how we decide if a proposed development will be financially viable. We'll ask a third party to see whether a new development brings more value to the area than the cost of developing it. This includes looking at:

  • gross development value
  • gross development costs
  • land value
  • landowner premium
  • developer return

 You'll need to pay for an assessment if your plans cannot meet our infrastructure requirements. These are laid out in our Local Plan

We had viability assessments done when we prepared our Local Plan. This means our planning policies:

  • have been fully considered by external consultants
  • do not have an unrealistic effect on development

You won't need a viability assessment if your plans follow our policies.

We make any documents related the the viability of a project available to the public. This is so they can be used as evidence if anyone wants to comment on your planning application. In exceptional circumstances, we may not publish all the documents. If this happened, we still make an executive summary of the viability assessment available. 

Viability assessment at pre-application stage

If you complete a pre-application or use one of our pre-application services, we'll tell you if you need a viability assessment. If this happens:

  • we should discuss why your project will need a viability assessment
  • you need to do the assessment at an early stage and make sure it is on your pre-application submission

Viability assessment submitted with an application

If you don't use a pre-application advice service, you'll need to submit the assessment with your application. You'll need to prove if any particular circumstances justify the need for the assessment. You also need to base your assessment on our local plan.

Make sure your viability assessment:

  • refers back to the viability assessments which justify our local plan
  • proves why circumstances have changed since our viability assessments were done
  • reflects the government's recommended approach to defining key inputs as set out in National Planning Guidance

National Planning Guidance

The government's National Planning Policy Framework states:

"All viability assessments, including any undertaken at the plan-making stage, should reflect the recommended approach in national planning guidance, including standardised inputs, and should be made publicly available."

You should review the national guidance on viability before carrying out an assessment. 

  • for advice on reviewing viability during the lifetime of your project, see paragraph: 009 Reference ID: 10-009-20190509
  • for advice on when a viability assessment is needed, see paragraph: 006 Reference ID: 10-006-20190509

We also recommend you check the government's national planning policy framework.