LETTER: Concern over comments
It's concerning that Mr Deen (Opinion, February 16) can make disparaging comments about the planning committee without actually attending the meeting so that he could have heard the discussion on viability for himself.
However, he has a point about the percentages of profit that developers expect from their business. Anyone who has seen the TV programme Homes under the Hammer will know that small house developers are often happy with between six and eight per cent profit margin.
It should be considered, though, that large sites incur larger expenses – cranes that aren’t needed for small sites must surely increase the entrepreneur’s bill – however the large contractors also have massive economies of scale which should bring the cost down again.
Like it or not, we need developers to improve our town so that our local people have decent homes. Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Government does not have a policy on profit margins or guidelines for viability tariffs for development other than the formula for the old S106 levy or the newer Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Viability reports are of necessity financed by the developers and he who pays the piper calls the tune.
A very small tweak in these reports can make a scheme viable or not.
It is a very good way of avoiding planning obligations to provide much-needed local facilities.
Following our efforts, the council will be attempting to address the issue of viability guidelines and transparency of decision-making for councillors and members of the public.
I have been advised that a report will be written and that it will go through due process via the joint overview and scrutiny committee as it affects both Adur and Worthing Councils.
The public will be able to read this for themselves in the future.
Liberal Democrat member of Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee,
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