By Christopher Young and Professor Chris Balch of Plymouth University

The purpose of this paper is to examine the latest theory and perhaps more importantly the practice with respect to the challenge of delivering affordable housing and other planning gain in current market circumstances. At the heart of this matter lies the question of viability and how this is being approached by the planning system which itself is now undergoing a period of radical reform.

Specifically the paper will consider the following questions: 

  • Why has viability become of such growing significance within the planning process? 
  • What has the response of policy makers and practitioners been and how effective has this been in enabling delivery?
  • What are the main legal decisions on viability and affordability? 
  • What are the main decisions of the Secretary of State on viability issues? 
  • How are decision makers dealing with the issue of viability within planning from a legal standpoint? 
  • What are the practical implications for those involved in the planning and development process both from the stand point of negotiating a way through the planning process and putting in place appropriate legal delivery mechanisms?