top of page

Can you negotiate viability after planning permission is granted?

Development viability is a dark art within the planning process and oftentimes expert consultants are brought in to assist with this matter within a wider planning application.

Viable Placemaking are a town planning consultancy with a specialism in development economics and viability. Therefore, a great portion of our work is hand in hand with fellow consultants, such as architects and planners, to assist with the viability portion of a scheme. This can include early review of a scheme to understand what the most lucrative development at a site may be, through an Economic Optimization Appraisal, or through the preparation of a full Viability Assessment.

Oftentimes, clients and consultants approach us to ask whether or not the viability can be negotiated following the granting of a planning permission. Our staff have experience in this but acknowledge it can be a significant uphill battle, and a really robust case will certainly need to be submitted to the Council.

Usually, any case seeking to negotiate viability after the granting of a planning permission, particularly after a Section 106 legal agreement has been completed, will need to respond to a significant change in the local market, such as flux in house prices or build costs, or changes to the proposal itself, such as through a Section 73 application.

One such example of the latter was recently allowed through a Planning Appeal in Sheffield under reference number APP/J4423/W/23/3318273.

The Planning Inspector gave extensive consideration to the relationship between a Section 73 application and an existing Section 106 agreement. Eventually, following review of the relevant legislation and responding to the viability case put forward, the Inspector allowed the appeal.

This case is noteworthy both due to the evaluation of the potential of a Section 73 application and also due to the current status of the Sheffield City Council local Development Plan.

The Council are, at present, in the process of updating their local plan and the Whole Plan Viability Assessment which was prepared in 2022 found that many developments in the area would be unviable. This has intrinsic implications for the delivery of housing and affordable housing in the area during the plan period. In addition, it raises the question around the relationship between CIL and section 106 contributions - a question already in the wings of the ongoing high court case regarding NHS contributions.

If you are considering the viability of your development and would like to discuss this with a member of our team, please don't hesitate to get in touch today.


bottom of page