Viability assessment guidance review ‘a move in the right direction’

Marj Mayo of Islington Homes for All welcomed the news that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors will review its guidance on how viability assessments are carried out for new developments, the Islington Tribune reports.

The new guidance will prevent developers from overbidding for land then shirking their affordable housing obligations on the ground that quotas required by local planning guidance make their plans unprofitable.

A High Court judge recommended the professional body review its guidance after Islington Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government won a landmark ruling against a private developer. The developer had overpaid for a former Territorial Army site adjacent to Holloway prison and then claimed they could not meet Islington Council’s affordable housing requirements.

Marj Mayo said of the news:

This is definitely a move in the right direction. Viability assessments have indeed been used by developers as smokescreens, enabling them to renege on previous commitments to provide genuinely affordable housing, as part of the planning permissions that they have been awarded.”