The Scottish planning system adheres to a different legislative and policy system to the English planning system. However the principle of viability is still well-established, and is taken into account in many local policy documents, particularly in regards to regeneration and heritage priorities.
In this case, S106 Management supported the applicant on a conversion scheme for a large listed former university building, proposed to be redeveloped into 39 flats.
Under Fife's local plan affordable housing policy a 15% contribution was sought initially.
However Fife local plan also includes a pragmatic approach to affordable housing, listing significant exemptions within policy in regards to conversion or renovation of existing buildings to encourage brownfield redevelopment and regeneration schemes. There are also exemptions for listed buildings in order to encourage their preservation and conservation. This is a pragmatic approach which recognises the financial challenges of regeneration schemes.
S106M successfully applied the relevant exemptions, arguing that the proposal fit the parameters of the policy, and therefore should be exempted from affordable housing requirements to ensure that the building did not remain vacant.
In addition S106 Management submitted a full viability report analysing the financial specifics of the project and demonstrating that the scheme could not viably deliver the proposed contributions.
This report was examined by the district valuer who concurred with our assessment.
The scheme was granted approval without any affordable housing contributions being sought.
If you are looking for support with affordable housing contributions in Scotland, please contact us today.