Cabinet agrees to implement new planning tool

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to implement a new tool that will help to assess the viability of future developments.

The council is currently preparing its deposit Replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) for public consultation before submitting to Welsh Government. Sites prioritised and proposed for allocation in the plan first need to be evidenced as deliverable, particularly in relation to financial viability.

At a meeting on 15 December, Cabinet discussed a new schedule of charges for issuing a Development Viability Model (DVM) to developers and/or site promoters based on the size of the development.

Cabinet member for communities Richard Young said: “We have worked in partnership with other local authorities across the south east Wales region to develop the DVM assessment tool as a comprehensive, user-friendly model that can be used to assess the financial viability of development proposals. It is based on the same approach used by the Mid and South West Wales Strategic Planning Group and will eventually be adopted by all 10 authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region.

“The fees are intended to cover the council’s administrative costs, verifying the completed appraisal and providing a high-level review to the developer/site promoter. They will not serve to guarantee site allocation within the Replacement LDP or directly result in the granting of planning permission.

“The council can make the DVM available to developers, site promoters, or any other individual/organisation to undertake a financial viability appraisal of a proposed development and demonstrate site deliverability in accordance with the requirements of Planning Policy Wales.

“The model for the fees is relatively modest and it will be a useful tool for developers and the council in determining whether or not a proposed development is viable.

“A successful pilot has been carried out in Bridgend County Borough with several site promoters using the service. Feedback from the housing industry has been broadly positive.”

Cabinet agreed the proposed approach and fee charging schedule, which will now be implemented.