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Viability Assessment

Published: 2023-03-24 Updated: 2023-03-30 Subject:

Planning application - local requirement

A Viability Assessment is a statement of the financial circumstances of a development. You may need to submit one with your planning application, if you are seeking to show that following planning obligations which are part of our adopted planning policy will threaten the financial viability of your development proposal. 

Read more about why we have this requirement
Local planning policy normally requires obligations and contributions from certain types of development, for example, a commitment to providing affordable housing within residential schemes, or to pay Section 106 CIL contributions. These obligations are explained in our Planning Obligations SPD (2023), as well as other relevant material considerations. If wish to ask for exemption from these obligations, and are submitting a Draft Head of Terms which is not policy compliant, you will need to complete a Viability Assessment to justify your claim for exemption. 


National Planning Practice Guidance sets out that: “Where up-to-date policies have set out the contributions expected from development, planning applications that fully comply with them should be assumed to be viable. It is up to the applicant to demonstrate whether particular circumstances justify the need for a viability assessment at the application stage.” In these circumstances, you must submit a Viability Assessment at validation stage.

When this requirement applies 

You will need to prepare and submit a Viability Assessment if you are not offering planning obligations and contributions in accordance with local policy, due to financial viability.

What the Assessment should include

Your responsibilities

You must use an appropriately qualified and independent financial professional to prepare and signed your Viability Assessment.

For us to consider a viability argument, you will have to share information substantiating this on an 'open book' basis. Your Viability Assessment should include the following:

  • Site or building acquisition cost and existing use value 
  • Construction costs and programme 
  • Fees and other on costs 
  • Projected sale prices of dwellings 
  • Gross and net margin
  • Other costs and receipts 
  • Other relevant information, dependent on the nature of the obligation(s)

National Planning Guidance (below) sets out the Government’s recommended approach to defining key inputs for your Viability Assessment.

How we will deal with your Viability Assessment

In accordance with paragraph 58 of the National Planning Policy Framework, we will publish on our website any Viability Assessments. These will be available on our View and comment on planning applications web service. 

We will commission an independent chartered surveyor, or suitably qualified and independent financial professional, to interrogate any Viability Assessment you provide. You will need to meet the costs of this verification work, and pay for this upfront, before the review can take place. See our Planning Obligations SPD (2023), below, for the terms and conditions which are applicable.  

If there is any disagreement on the financial appraisal, we will expect you to agree to adjudication by an independent person, usually a Fellow or Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. You will need to meet the costs of any adjudication process.

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