We are delighted to have secured planning permission for a local developer in the London Borough of Bexley. The project sought the redevelopment of a locally listed building, to provide 13 apartments with associated parking and amenity space.
It was a complicated scheme and has been through various iterations over the last 3 years. We supported the project team during this period, advising on strategy, negotiating with the Council, preparing the application and planning statement and liaising across the wider project team. Of particular interest were two key issues: the locally listed building designation and the provision of affordable housing.
What is a locally listed building?
A locally listed building is, generally speaking, a building and/or other structure deemed to be of historic or architectural significance at a local level. They are considered to have some historic value and make a contribution towards the townscape or landscape of the area in which they sit.
These buildings are of local significance, as opposed to national significance; they do not enjoy the additional statutory controls given to those on the national list, but their conservation is an objective of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Local Planning Policy and therefore is a material consideration when determining a planning application.
In this case we recommended and sought early input from a heritage consultant. This helped to guide the design and ensure that the proposal respected and enhanced the heritage asset.
What is an early and late stage viability review?
Viability Assessments are a process of assessing whether a site is financially viable, by looking at whether the value generated by a development is more than the cost of developing it. In this case, a viability appraisal was provided by the applicant which indicated that the proposal would not generate sufficient surplus to support any affordable housing provision onsite or any offsite contributions in lieu.
When this occurs, Early and Late Stage review mechanisms are then often put in place via legal agreements to potentially secure affordable housing delivery over time. They acknowledge the potential for significant changes in values in the housing market. They seek to establish whether, at an early stage and late stage of implementation of the development, viability has improved such that affordable housing could now be provided.
An Early Stage Viability Review is used to incentivise delivery. It is applicable when an agreed level of implementation progress has not been made within 2 years of the permission being granted – or within an alternative timeframe with the LPA set out within the legal agreement.
A Late Stage Viability Review occurs near the end of development, for example once a certain percentage of units are sold – these thresholds are again to be agreed with the LPA and contained within the legal agreement.
Can we help?
If you have a site in Bexley and are looking for a planning consultancy to help you achieve your development aspirations then please contact Emily Penkett (email@example.com). Alternatively you can call us on 01242 501003 to see how we can best assist you, providing the site address and a brief overview of your project. You can also submit your site via our Landmark Page. We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.
IMAGE SOURCE: Urban and Rural (2019)