The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Growth, Councillor Jack Hopkins, introduced the report and explained the value of the Viability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in bringing increased transparency to the local planning process. He stated that the SPD would aid the Planning team and increase public confidence in the local planning process.
Mr David Boardman, the Planning Lead for Kennington Oval and Vauxhall Forum addressed the committee, commenting that:
· The Viability SPD was welcomed as it would help to increase transparency and address low trust in confidential viability assessments which were often used by developers to justify low levels of affordable housing provision in planning applications.
· However, the policy should not include provision allowing developers to make the case for exceptional circumstances in relation to the non-disclosure of viability assessments. Instead, the council should adopt a policy that insisted all viability information was made public.
· The proposed benchmark land value of ‘Existing Use Value (EUV) plus’ was the preferred option but the local planning authority must insist on real existing use values and remain sceptical about the level of the plus premium.
· The council should reconsidered the preferred assessment tool.
· The 80/20 split in favour of Lambeth for any surplus revealed by subsequent viability reviews was welcomed.
In response to comments made by the registered speaker, the Policy Planning Manager, Catherine Carpenter, explained that the principle of the SPD was for full transparency and that the draft policy would also go out for consultation in due course. Members of the public were invited to submit their views on the Viability SPD at this stage.
Members of the Cabinet made the following comments:
· The Viability SPD was hugely welcome and would help Lambeth to secure more affordable housing for residents. The council would continue to drive a hard bargain with developers. Councillor Jack Hopkins and officers were thanked for their work in producing the policy.
· The consultation plan needed to explain the on Viability SPD in layman's terms and enable the public to fully understand the benefits of the policy.
· The council welcomed the views of members of the public and would consider all suggestions thoroughly.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, welcomed the changes and noted the importance of the ongoing consultation process.
1) To note and agree the content of the draft Lambeth Development Viability SPD as presented in Appendix 1 of the report.
2) To approve the draft Lambeth Development Viability SPD for public consultation.
3) To note and agree the proposals for public consultation.