Decision details

Strategic Viability Assessment

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Committee considered the Strategic Viability Assessment Report by the Planning Manager (TDC) (circulated previously).



The Planning Manager outlined the content of the report and confirmed:


·         It had been agreed at the Committee meeting in July 2022 that this report would be considered at this meeting.

·         The national planning policy and guidance required to be taken into account when plan making and decision taking in respect of viability.

·         Paragraph 34 of the NPPF stated that ‘Plans should set out the contributions expected from development’. It also stated that ‘Such policies should not undermine the deliverability of the plan’.

·         Local Plan Policies ST18 and ST23 were significant with regard to the delivery of affordable housing and infrastructure to meet needs generated by development.

·         An Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) had been adopted by this Committee in July 2022, which provided additional guidance in respect of policy implementation.

·         The draft PAS toolkit (1), indicated that in North Devon 38% of sites in North Devon District and 58% of sites in Torridge which qualified to deliver affordable housing secured policy compliant planning permissions and that overall qualifying sites would achieve an average of over 20% affordable housing. It was recognised that a number of larger applications had been subject to significant abnormal costs, which impacted on the delivery of affordable housing. These included Great Torrington Creamery, Bideford West Urban extension, and Westacott at Barnstaple.


The Chair considered that it could be of advantage to find resources to enable the Councils to test the viability of sites in greater detail before allocation.


The Planning Manager agreed that there would be merit in closer focus on those sites.


The Senior Planning Policy Officer (TDC) advised that there had been an opportunity to achieve larger Section 106 contributions than would have otherwise been enabled if the Councils had adopted a CIL regime.


In response to a question from the Committee, the Senior Planning Policy Officer (TDC) agreed to investigate the performance of North Devon and Torridge in achieving affordable housing against that of other Devon authorities.


In response to a question from the Committee, the Planning Manager advised that although build costs had increased, so had the property sale prices.


In response to a question from the Committee, the Chair agreed that in order to meet sustainability requirements the emphasis was on the developer to meet the requirements under building regulations and it was recognised that retro-fitting costs were expensive.


            RESOLVED that the Strategic Viability Assessment Report:


1)    be noted, and


2)    be used as the basis for embedding viability considerations within the plan-making process, in a proportionate manner at the various stages of preparation.


Report author: Helen Smith

Publication date: 15/11/2022

Date of decision: 04/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 04/11/2022 - Joint Planning Policy Committee

Accompanying Documents: