Oxfordshire Growth Options Study - Viability and Delivery Assessment 

Client: Oxfordshire County Council

Oxford's ability to maintain and expand its position as a 'world city' is constrained by chronic housing shortages. The overall aim of the Spatial Options Assessment was to provide a criteria-based analysis of the spatial options for fulfilling Oxford's unmet housing need, estimated to be in the order of 15,000 new homes, providing guidance and evidence to inform decisions on how this unmet need can best be distributed across the county. A key component of this assessment was the analysis of the viability and deliverability of each site, which we undertook as part of a study led by Land Use Consultants.

SQW Land & Property (as BBP Regeneration) developed the deliverability and viability assessment criteria based on National Planning Policy Framework principles and guidance on Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments (SHLAA). This considered market demand and housing need factors, as well as viability and deliverability factors reflecting the barriers to development which will need to be overcome. We carried out detailed assessments for each site using existing market and economic evidence supporting the Local Plans such as Community Infrastructure Levy policies and supporting Infrastructure Delivery Plans, the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment and individual authorities' SHLAA work. We also reviewed high level information available in relation to physical and social infrastructure, and considered the likelihood of securing funding.

This assessment, based on sustainability and delivery principles, gave credibility to the Growth Options Study and reflected sound planning principles to allow the Oxfordshire local authorities to move forward in the plan-led process with consensual direction and allocate specific development sites through respective Local Plans.