Published: Thursday, 11th February 2016
Feasibility studies, viability assessments and project leadership are all key elements in developing housing-led Local Development Orders (LDOs), according to a new advice note published.
The note, published by the Government’s Planning Advisory Service (PAS), was prepared with help from consultancy AECOM and Peter Brett Associates who took part in PAS pilots involving Teignbridge District Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and Welwyn Hatfield District Council.
The note stressed that one of the chief advantages of the LDO is that the order can be shaped to local circumstances and embody local aspirations.
PAS pointed out that what distinguished the LDO approach from more traditional forms of pro-active planning was the importance of ensuring that the development for which permission will be given is deliverable in the timeframe; typically five years for the LDO pilots.
“An LDO for either a regeneration or a stalled housing site will take significant resources to set up, so it is essential that this effort and investment is based in an early understanding of the market conditions and development economics for the specific site” argued the note.
Viability studies and market assessments will be key, argued PAS. This evidence is likely to be provided by external consultants appointed by the council.
The note highlighted the need for strong leadership. “Leadership is critical, ensuring that the top people, politically and managerially, understand the process and are committed to the desired outcome, and will therefore encourage engagement from others, put the necessary resources in place and drive decision making.
“Ideally someone from the leadership team will take the role of project leader and chair the LDO steering group” said the note.