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Making planning decisions more transparent

Last Modified July 06, 2020

Information showing how much a proposed development in Hertsmere is worth and the financial return the developer can expect to make will be publicly available from this week.

In line with government guidance, we have begun publishing the financial viability assessments that accompany planning applications we receive here. Viability assessments are produced by developers in order to show the economic viability of their schemes and include the gross development value, benchmark land value including landowner premium, costs and return to developer. They are taken into consideration when deciding the requirements developers must agree to before their plans are considered for approval, such as the level of on-site affordable housing provision they must achieve or the level of contributions a developer must make available for community benefit.

It is hoped the publication of the viability assessments will give residents, businesses and other interested parties greater insight into how or why decisions about where they live or work have been made, enhancing the sense of transparency in the planning process.

Councillor Dr Harvey Cohen, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “It is standard practice in Hertsmere, and other local authorities, to closely scrutinise development viability and this step is just a way of making sure that members of the public can be brought into the process.

“It shows how we are holding developers to account and ensuring a consistency of approach, so that we can demonstrate we are treating all development proposals fairly.

“We want our residents, businesses and other stakeholders to have access to the same information that we do so that we can all see the planning process at work and understand how decisions which impact on the lives and vibrancy of our local communities are made.”

All submitted financial viability assessments that accompany planning applications will be published in full, in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework’s guidance on viability.

Proposed redactions to an assessment will be considered if they are submitted by a developer, however, any redactions agreed may be subject to further review in the light of applications under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

For more information go here.

Posted on Monday 6th July 2020

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