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Viability issue shows that Government must see Taylor Review through

19 February 2013

Richard BlythContinued uncertainty over viability in planning is evidence that the Government must see the Taylor Review through, said the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in its response to the government consultation on the issue. The RTPI, which represents 23,000 planners worldwide and is the largest membership organisation of planners in Europe, also welcomed the speed and comprehensiveness of the Taylor Review and praised Ministers for commissioning the independent review team.

Richard Blyth, RTPI's Head of Policy Practice and Research, said: "We agree with much in the review and applaud DCLG for commissioning it. Yet as the continued uncertainty over adjudicating viability in planning demonstrates, the Government needs to see the Taylor Review through. Government guidance could cut through the Gordian knot of viability testing at a stroke."

Planning Inspectorate appeal APP/X0360/A/12/2179141 (Land at the Manor, Shinfield) has been cited  as an example of the difficulties that can result from the uncertainty on viability testing. Ultimately these issues are political issues and require a political steer.

In its response, the RTPI also emphasised that the distinction between Government planning guidance (which should be followed) and what is best practice (which it might be good to follow), and that Government guidance has an important role in delivering certainty on matters of methodology. In addition to viability, the RTPI also indicated a need for Government guidance on Strategic Housing Market Assessments, Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments, the Duty to Cooperate, and flooding.