Granting developers planning permission can increase the value of a given plot of land exponentially. In London this can result in windfalls to developers of tens, sometimes hundreds of millions of pounds. Affordable housing obligations are a way of capturing some of that value while ensuring that developments make some provision for local housing need.

So why is it that every politician promises us more affordable housing and we end up getting less and less? The answer is viability assessments; the dark art of tweeking the numbers to make developments look less viable than they really are. For example, this scheme at Elephant & Castle returned four times more profit than developer Lendlease declared in its viability assessment. The 35% Campaign and Woolfe Vision have produced this short film explaining the basics of how developers cook the books and how they get away with it.

We have been very active in campaigning for transparency in viability testing and against the loss of affordable housing it always entails. Viability assessments are a key factor in any planning application as they not only determine the level of affordable housing but also justify other departures from policy requirements, i.e. restrictions on car parking and contributions to public infrastructure.

Following our success in obtaining the viability assessment for the Heygate redevelopment, we published our Viability for Dummies hanbook, explaining how to obtain viability assessments via FOI/EIR regulations. Subsequent media pressure has resulted in three London boroughs and the GLA introducing policies to make viability testing more transparent (Islington, Greenwich and Southwark).

Despite the introduction of these new policies developers are continuing to plead viability poverty. Skipton House and the Elephant & Castle shopping centre development are two recent such examples.

Below we publish the Heygate viability assessment and various other viability assessments obtained via FOI/EIR from campaign groups across London.


Heygate Viability Assessment

Viability Assessment - Main Report

Appendix 6 (Existing Use Refurbishment Costs)
Appendix 7 (Existing Private Values Summary)
Appendix 8 (Existing Affordable Appraisal)
Appendix 9 (Existing Retail Values Summary)
Appendix 10 (Existing Office Values Summary)
Appendix 11 (Existing Use Value Appraisal)
Appendix 12 (Proposed Residential Values Report)
Appendix 13 (Proposed Affordable Appraisal)
Appendix 16 (Proposed Build Cost Estimate)
Appendix 17 (Budget Savings Letter)
Appendix 20 (Oxford Economics House Price Report)
Miscellaneous re-requested illegible pages

Canada Water (Site C - Decathlon)

Financial viability assessment for Canada Water Regeneration Site C - (Decathlon site).

Tribeca Square

Financial viability assessment for Delancey’s Tribeca Square development at Elephant & Castle.

Wilmer Place

Financial viability assessment for Wilmer Place - Stoke Newington High St.

Neo Bankside

Financial viability assessment for Neo Bankside development on London’s South Bank.

Albert Embankment

Financial viability assessment for 8 Albert Embankment (London Fire Brigade Headquarters) redevelopment.

Greenwich Peninsula (east) redevelopment

Financial viability assessment and third party appraisal for Greenwich Peninsula (east) redevelopment.

Greenwich Peninsula (west) redevelopment

Financial viability assessment and supplementary letter and third party appraisal for Greenwich Peninsula (west) redevelopment.

Poplar Business Park

Financial viability assessment for Poplar Business Park development.

St Ann’s Hospital redevelopment (Haringey)

Independent appraisal for the redevelopment of St Ann’s Hospital in Haringey.

Shepherd’s Bush Market redevelopment

Financial viability assessment for the redevelopment of Shepherd’s Bush Market.

West Ham Stadium development

Financial viability assessment and appraisal reports for the West Ham Stadium development in Newham.

Wilds Rents

Financial viability assessment (GLA toolkit) for a residential development in Wilds Rents Bermondsey.

87 Cleveland St (Westminster)

Appraisal of financial viability assessment for 87 Cleveland St in Westminster.

Soda Studios (Hackney)

Financial Viability Assessment for the redevelopment of the Soda Studios in Hackney.

Skipton House

Financial viability assessment for the redevelopment of Skipton House at Elephant & Castle.

Wyvil Road (Lambeth)

Financial viablity assessment for the redevelopment of 12-20 Wyvil Rd, Lambeth. See George Turner’s summary here.