An assessment may, where appropriate, be submitted to demonstrate a scheme’s viability. Where viability is questioned then any proposed viability assessment should include the details set out in Paragraph 4.4 of the SPG. It will be for the us to determine whether the figures included within the viability assessment are robust and acceptable as clear evidence for deviation from policy.
It is noted that viability may be impacted upon by the nature of the proposal. For example, the conversion of a listed building may result in a series of unknown and unforeseen costs over and above that which may have been reasonably predicted. It is however in general expected that any developer should have a clear understanding of costs in preparing their proposals. In this respect, it is a matter for the applicant/developer to determine whether the nature of the proposal (scale, materials, design etc.) impacts on its viability. The affordable housing commuted sum should represent a known cost and its impact on the viability of any proposal will only be considered where a proposal has demonstrated that the unknown developmental costs are, in conjunction with the commuted sum requirement, prohibitive to the development taking place.
Timing of Payment - We recognise that in some circumstances, it may be difficult for an applicant to pay the whole cost of the commuted sum in one lump sum. Through negotiation and the provision of sufficient evidence from the applicant, a pragmatic approach may apply where staged payments of the commuted sum can be made. This staged approach may be tailored to be reflective of the applicant’s circumstances and reflect the need for many small developments to manage costs associated with construction across the build process. In implementing any staged payments, the final payment of the commuted sum should be received prior to the occupation of the dwelling.
The agreement of staged payments should be set out within a legal agreement through a Section 106 or Unilateral Undertaking.