As a property developer or investor one of the most important elements of all the preliminary work you must do with any property development project is the feasibility appraisal/study and you may have to do a number of them – including sourcing, financing, securing the perfect site and an assessment of the return on investment. A detailed feasibility appraisal of any aspect of a project will inform you whether or not your proposed development will be a gratifying success or an unforgettable lesson. Feasibility studies highlight any potential problems or risks you may face along the way and whether those issues might make or break the entire project.

One of the most critical studies is a planning feasibility appraisal. This will weigh up the pros and cons of the particular type of development and assess whether or not the project is feasible in planning terms.

The bottom line is you have to know if your proposal is likely to get planning permission. Without a clear understanding of whether or not your intended development is feasible from the outset – there is really no point proceeding to the next stage.

A Planning Feasibility Appraisal is a desktop study and gathers together national and local planning information that is publicly available to inform your decision making process. The site is not visited. Council planners are not normally contacted in such an assessment. This is not a pre-application consultation with the Council which is an entirely different process.

The site will be assessed against planning policies and advice given in the form of a written report for the proposed scheme or schemes indicated by the client.

The purpose of a feasibility study is to:

“objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and threats present in the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately the prospects for success…A feasibility study evaluates the project’s potential for success; therefore, perceived objectivity is an important factor in the credibility of the study for potential investors and lending institutions. It must therefore be conducted with an objective, unbiased approach to provide information upon which decisions can be based.”

In a Planning Feasibility Appraisal prepared by PLANiTWRiGHT the site, buildings and surroundings are assessed and national and local planning policies are researched and interpreted. Once this has been done an opinion on the likelihood of obtaining planning permission for the specified proposal is given together with alternative options.

A report may also include the contributions to be made under Section 106 agreements, Community Infrastructure Levy liability and any other expert reports that may be required. A Planning Feasibility study will not specify the cost of development, the amount of development or the value – but will confirm whether or not the planning policies support the principle of the intended development.

Planning Feasibility Appraisals start at £950 (no VAT) which is payable prior to commencement of the work. Larger projects will be charged proportionally more.

The importance of undertaking a feasibility appraisal at the very beginning of a project cannot be underestimated. Essentially, undertaking the correct planning research into a proposed development separates the ‘cowboys’ from the genuine developers and investors.