Category Archive: Development

Property Development: are housing targets financially viable?

It’s no secret that the UK is in the midst of a Housing Crisis, and there are many reasons as to why we are where we are, however, the underlying issue is simply that there’re not enough affordable homes. James Brokenshire, Housing Secretary, has been tasked with meeting the target of 300,000 homes-a-year by the mid-2020s. However, with national building costs increasing to up to 5% in 2018, it’s not financially viable for housing developers and builders to deliver the required sites along with the necessary Section 106 (S106) Planning Obligations and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions.

Financial Viable Planning

What are S106 Planning Obligations?

Planning obligations are a legal obligation agreed between a local authority and a developer. They are most commonly used to secure affordable housing, however, they’re also used to secure financial contributions to support infrastructure surrounding a new development such as health care, education and open space provision.

S106 Planning Obligations are based on the specific needs of the local community. Many councils use the number of proposed dwellings being delivered on site to decide what this charge should be. For example, a council might ask for a contribution to the local school in an area with limited school places.

What are CIL Contributions?

Introduced by the Planning Act 2008, CIL Contributions are more transparent than S106 Planning Obligations as they are tariff based and a set contribution per square metre of development in order to cover a larger number of community improvements. There is no set national tariff for CIL Contributions, and these differ across local authorities.

Financial Viability in Planning

In the past few years, we have seen Northumberland, Newcastle and Tyneside Councils put forward local plans in order to set a framework of development up until 2036. Many sites have been put forward by landowners and developers, however, despite achieving planning permission, many sites are undeliverable due to increasing build costs and financial contributions that are requested, as detailed above.

In order to solve the housing crisis, it is essential that house builders have their project professionally valued so that they can negotiate contributions with local authorities in order to make a site financially viable and deliverable.

How Can We Help?

With George F. White’s knowledge of the development and valuation process, a comprehensive appraisal can be undertaken to illustrate to local authorities whether a site with planning permission, including S106 and CIL, contributions is financially viable. The aim of such an exercise is to negotiate relief from such burdens to allow a site to come forward.

Viability Appraisals are often most effective in areas where the local residential market is weak but development costs are increasing, which can be seen across the development industry at a national level. George F. White can provide you with advice, evidence and professional valuations so that negotiations with the local authority can be undertaken.

For help and advice on Financial Viability in Planning, please contact Matthew Simpson.

LEADER Funding Available for Rural Communities

The Coast, Wolds, Wetland and Waterways (CWWW) LEADER Programme has re-opened for two weeks from the 4th January 2019 to the 18th January 2019, accepting applications on all six Defra priorities.

Defra Priorities:

  • Support to increase farm productivity
  • Support micro and small farm businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
  • Support rural tourism
  • Provide rural services
  • Provide cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity


What is LEADER?

LEADER is a European Union initiative that encourages economic prosperity or rural areas and improving the quality of life of the communities. The CWWW Leader Programme covers the East Riding of Yorkshire and Southern Ryedale (excluding Bridlington, Goole and Beverly).

Simon Britton, Partner at land, property and business consultancy, George F. White, said: “Access to LEADER funding is fantastic news for the rural communities in the East Riding of Yorkshire Southern Ryedale; it has been an interesting few years in regards to politics and the economy; as we approach our exit from the European Union, it is extremely important that rural communities take advantage of funding opportunities whilst they are still available.”

The project has been closed to new applicants since July 2018 due to a staggering volume of interest, with this in mind, George F. White urge farmers, landowners and business owners to submit their expression of interest in good time to avoid disappointment. The government has guaranteed funding for RDPE LEADER Programme grants if these are agreed and signed before the UK’s departure from the EU (even if the grant agreements continue after we have left the EU), however, it is advised that projects are finished, paid for, and complete grant claims submitted, by 31 March 2019.

Britton added: “This opportunity concentrates on small businesses, farm diversification projects and rural tourism; since the programme opened in 2015, our team have been involved in countless LEADER applications across the North East and Yorkshire with a similar focus. The team have achieved results such as funding for local rugby clubs, holiday accommodation and public animal parks, to name a few. We understand that applying for necessary funding can be a long and complex process, however, many of our team have been raised on farms or in the countryside and are sensitive to the issues and the opportunities that land and property owners and occupiers face in the 21st Century.”

If you have a project that you think would be eligible for the current LEADER fund opportunity, please contact our team on 01677 425301, alternatively, email Simon Britton directly.

Third Party Right of Appeal Rejected: Planning (Scotland) Bill

The Local Government and Communities Committee has rejected an amendment to the Planning (Scotland) Bill that would have introduced Third Party Right of Appeal.

What is the Planning (Scotland) Bill?

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 4th December 2017  and it is intended to strengthen the planning system’s contribution to inclusive growth and empowering communities (click for more information).

Third Party Right of Appeal

What is Third Party Right of Appeal?

First Party – Proposer of the application
Second Party – Local authority
Third Party – Community or individual that is objecting a proposal

Currently, in Scotland, a developer has the right to appeal when planning permission has been refused, however, the objector (Third Party) does not have a right to appeal if planning permission has been granted.

Planning minister, Kevin Stewart stated that the introduction of Third Party Right of Appeal would add confusion to the planning process as well as damaging the planning system by causing additional conflict and blocking development opportunities.

The bill aims to create significant more homes in Scotland, whilst allowing communities to have more of a say about changes to the places they live.

Stephanie Linnell, Associate at George F. White said:

“Whilst it is vital that communities are involved in the development of their area, this should be through the preparation of the Local Development Plan and engagement in specific planning application proposals.

Engagement needs to be strengthened as part of the process of planning applications, rather than as a last resort to appeals which would remove local decision making bodies to a central body.

We will need to wait for the outcome of the Planning (Scotland) Bill at stage three.”

Newcastle DAP: consultation period

Newcastle City Council are currently consulting on their Development and Allocations Plan (‘DAP’), which considers planning policies and site allocations for future development including housing, employment, and commercial sites.


The DAP is the second part of Newcastle’s Local Plan. The Local Plan is a collection of documents that will guide the future development in Newcastle to 2030.

  • Part 1: Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan (CSUCP) – Adopted March 2015
  • Part 2: Development and Allocations Plan (DAP) – Currently being prepared and the DAP is the subject of this consultation
  • The DAP plays an important role in shaping the future of Newcastle. It provides more detailed policies to support and help to deliver the strategic policies set out in the CSUCP, by including:
    • Policies which will be used to make decisions on planning applications;
    • Allocations of housing and employment sites to support the CSUCP;
    • Designations of retail centre boundaries and sites for environmental protection.

If you own land or property in Newcastle, please contact our planning team on ​0191 605 3484 to understand whether your site has been identified for future development or whether there is potential for the site to come forward.

DAP Consultation Letter