Housing developers must disclose secret viability assessments

In Wednesday’s Commons debate, Tottenham MP David Lammy cited the example of how a proposal to turn a former police station in his constituency into flats which would have seen just 14% of the units reserved for low cost housing. (Like us in Brentford!) 

“That is not acceptable when public land is involved,” Lammy argued.

The London Mayoral hopeful added: “We should make the plans that developers put forward for public land transparent and open. All of the accounts of viability on public land should be available to the public, so that they can interrogate whether the proportion of affordable homes is in fact fair.” 

A rival in his bid to become Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, argued that disclosures through Freedom of Information centring on three major London housing developments revealed how developers “have taken advantage of the viability con, which means that they can say it is not viable to build affordable homes.” …

In a two year investigation into the viability system, Bureau’s research has found that not only is the process shrouded in secrecy with most developers refusing to disclose to the public the assessments on which their figures are based but also that councils rarely employ external experts to scrutinise housebuilders’ assumptions contained in their viability submissions.



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