Consultancy wins contract to provide viability assessments for central London borough

A real estate consultancy has beaten off two other bids to clinch a contract with the London Borough of Lambeth, under which it will provide viability assessments in order to ensure developer contributions are forthcoming.

A view of Lambeth borough from the London Eye - image: Wikimedia Commons/Mikey (CC BY 2.0)

A council report prepared for a planning committee meeting on 25 August recommends approving Avison Young as the provider of viability assessments for its planning service for three years, backdated to 15 June 2020.

The estimated value of the contract is £150,000, according to the document, with the option to extend the contract for a further year - costs that "can be covered from existing revenue budgets".

"The types of development requiring viability assessment can provide in return, as well as  affordable housing, millions of pounds in Section 106 contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments to the Council," the report notes.

It said the chosen advisor on such assessments "needed to be able to advise the planning service on the quality and accuracy of key inputs/values and outputs of draft viability assessments at preapplication stage and submitted viability assessments upon submission of planning applications".

It added: "Advice would also be required in respect of planning obligations for review mechanisms that would ensure the delivery of the highest levels of affordable housing delivery as well as standards of development."

In this, it said Avison Young "demonstrated a clear track record of working with local authorities on viability".

The report said that two other unnamed suppliers "submitted bids as part of the mini-competition" but Avison Young was awarded the highest score.

Avison Young, a Canadian real estate firm, completed a takeover of UK-based property and planning consultancy GVA in February last year.

According to the 2019 Planning Consultancy Survey, Avison Young is the seventh-biggest employer of charterd town planners in the UK.

In the Planning White Paper published earlier this month, the government revealed its intention to merge section 106 payments and CIL into a new "infrastructure levy".

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