Economic Appraisal and Viability

News, analysis and discussion of economic appraisal and viability of development proposals.

Page Title RSS feed

Economic Appraisal and Viability News

Bolton Town Hall. Image:

Council has kept more than £100K it should have refunded to applicants for taking too long to determine proposals

A council has revealed that it has acted unlawfully by keeping more than £100,000 in planning application fees that should have been refunded to applicants due to their proposals not being determined on time.

Artist's impression of one of the seven developments by Leverhulme in the Wirral. Image: Leverhulme.

Council’s appeal victory upholding its refusal of 788 green belt homes cost it £362,303

A council’s success in resisting a developer’s appeal over plans for 788 homes on green belt has cost it a total of £362,303 that it cannot recover, it has confirmed.

Jeremy Hunt (Pic: Getty)

Chancellor says new ‘premium’ planning service will increase planning officer numbers

The chancellor has pledged that his announcement yesterday to allow authorities to recover the full costs of certain major applications if they meet new “accelerated” deadlines will allow more planning officers to be trained up in response to an MP’s concerns that authorities do not have the capacity to deliver it.

Jeremy Hunt (Pic: Getty)

Councils will be able to recover full costs of certain major applications if new ‘faster’ timelines met

The chancellor has announced a new “premium” planning service, to be introduced next year, which would allow local authorities to recover the full costs of major business applications - but the fees will need to be refunded if they fail to meet new “accelerated” deadlines.

Countryside at Gilston (pic: cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Andrew Tatlow -

Consultancy blasts viability case used to justify slashing of affordable housing provision in 10,000-home scheme

The developers behind a 10,000-home scheme in Hertfordshire will benefit from a £130 million windfall after successfully persuading a local authority that they should only provide 23 per cent affordable housing against a 40 per cent requirement, a consultancy has claimed in a damning review of the case.

Economic Appraisal and Viability Comment

Why the government needs to introduce a national spatial plan to help levelling up, by Catriona Riddell

England's lack of a national spatial plan is “an obvious and glaring gap in the whole approach to levelling up”, says our columnist. The current government does not seem keen on the idea, but it could be introduced via a review of national planning policy.

Legal Viewpoint: When is a revised liability notice not a revised liability notice?

The talk of community infrastructure levy (CIL) can cause many to get nervous for fear of serving the wrong notice, at the wrong time, or paying CIL for the wrong chargeable development or for the wrong phase of that chargeable development – it's a technical area of planning practice!

Council planning managers must make the case for higher fees and bigger budgets, by Graeme Bell.

Local authority planners will once again be fighting this year to stop further erosion of their shrinking budgets. But they would need to generate better performance from their departments in return for extra cash, says our columnist

Council planning chiefs must show purpose to keep isolated junior staff on board, by Catriona Riddell

Morale is low among young local authority planners, says our columnist. A return to the office and increased resources will lift some of the gloom, but not without a better-articulated sense of mission.

Follow Us:

Economic Appraisal and Viability In Depth

A graphic of a pile of money in a briefcase (credit: Emma Austin/Getty Images)

The reasons why councils may be holding on to almost £3bn in unspent developer contribution cash

Research by housebuilders suggests that councils have almost £3 billion of unspent section 106 agreement planning gain cash in their coffers. But practitioners say there are good reasons why councils may want to take their time in spending their developer contributions on local projects.

Pic: Emma Austin/Getty Images

The fallout from Gove’s letter to council chiefs urging them to get on with plan-making

A letter sent by the housing secretary to council chiefs and leaders urging them to carry on plan-making has prompted a degree of confusion among practitioners. Some say the document may be cited as a material consideration in planning decisions and could lead to the loss of affordable housing if misinterpreted.

Michael Gove, secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities

How Gove’s new ‘super squad’ of expert planners is likely to work

The housing secretary has announced the formation of a new "super squad" of planning experts to help deliver large-scale developments. Observers believe the new team is likely to focus on land assembly and compulsory purchase and describe the initial funding for the programme to be “quite substantial”.


What the government’s u-turn on ring-fencing planning fee income means for councils and developers

The government’s change of heart on ring-fencing the increase in planning application fees for hard-pressed council planning departments could mean that they miss out on the benefits, observers fear.