MD2249 London Plan Viability – Consultation and Examination

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2249
Date signed: 
29 March 2018
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

Under cover of DD2121, approval was granted to commission consultants to undertake a viability study as evidence to support the Draft London Plan. This study has been published as part of the evidence base for the plan.

This decision seeks approval of the award of contract to Three Dragons to provide further advice and evidence on the London Plan Viability Study as a result of the consultation of the draft London Plan as well as to provide support at the Examination in Public.

Decision

That the Mayor approves:

- expenditure of up to £145,000 on additional advice and further written and oral evidence on development viability from Three Dragons as required as a result of the consultation on the draft London Plan as well as the provision of support at the Examination in Public of the Draft London Plan; and

- a related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to procure such services competitively.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor has published the new draft London Plan which provides a framework for more inclusive growth in the City. The Plan policies cover a range of issues including land use, housing, transport, economic development, infrastructure, heritage, culture and health. Under cover of DD2121, approval was granted to commission consultants to undertake a viability study as evidence to support the Draft London Plan.

The London Plan Viability Study, undertaken by a consultant team led by Three Dragons, forms part of the evidence base for the plan. This assessed whether the policies of the draft London Plan are deliverable across various types of development and locations across London, as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

This decision seeks approval of the appointment of the same consultants to provide further advice and evidence on development viability as required as a result of the consultation on the draft London Plan as well as provide support at the Examination in Public. This include an update to the Viability Study as a result of changing market conditions, responses to queries on the Viability Study, additional evidence required arising from issues raised as a part of the consultation process, or in response to requests by the Inspector as part of the Examination, and oral evidence to be provided at the Examination Hearings.

The brief for the initial Viability Study indicated that there would likely be further evidence required as a result of the consultation of the Draft London Plan as well as support needed for the Examination in Public. However, the costs of providing this additional support were not included within DD2121 as the extent of those costs were completely unknown at that time, as the scale of the work is a direct result of the responses received through the consultation on the draft London Plan.

It is acknowledged that section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code requires, where the expected value of a contract for services is between £10,000 and £150,000, that the services required should be procured competitively. Section 10 provides however, that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where a supplier has had previous involvement in a specific current project or the where the work proposed is a continuation of existing work, which cannot be separated from the new work. To this end, Three Dragons have, as noted above, previous involvement in the development of the viability study which supports the draft London Plan and their expertise and knowledge of it is beneficial, particularly in terms of the tight timescales.

There are no viable alternative consultants for the follow-on evidence to support this particular study. Given the previous involvement of Three Dragons, their provision of evidence on the study during the submission and examination stages of the London Plan will ensure continuity. Not only do Three Dragons have substantial previous experience and specialist technical knowledge of viability in London, having undertaken the London Plan Viability Study, it would be unfeasible for another consultant to defend the work of the Three Dragons at the London Plan Examination.

Three Dragon’s experience in the extensive viability modelling which has informed the study, in particular the assumptions and costings, is also essential for any additional evidence that may be necessary.

No viable alternatives can be appointed for these reasons and therefore approval of an exemption from the requirements of section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code is ought accordingly.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives and expected outcomes of this project are to:

• Provide further advice and evidence on development viability as required during the consultation and Examination in Public stages of the plan.
• Provide updates to the London Plan Viability Study if required as a result of changing market conditions.
• Assist the GLA in reviewing and responding to consultation comments on viability matters and issues related to it.
• Provide additional evidence required arising from issues raised as a part of the consultation process or in response to requests by the Inspector as part of the Examination
• To provide oral evidence at the Examination in Public Hearings and related events including a technical seminar on viability matters to assist the examination process.
• To provide expert viability advice and evidence to inform the Examination in Public of MCIL2 if required.

Equality comments

Taking into account the obligations under section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010, the decision to commission further viability evidence for the Draft London Plan is not anticipated to result in positive or negative impacts on groups with protected characteristics. The assessment is part of the evidence base for the new London Plan for which an Equalities Impact Assessment, as part of the Integrated Impact Assessment, has been undertaken.

No adverse equality impacts are identified in carrying out this work. This work relates to requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

Other considerations

The London Plan is the Mayor’s spatial development plan and provides the framework for delivery of the spatial elements of each of the Mayor’s strategies. The viability testing of Development Plans is required under national policy and guidance. The London Plan Viability Study forms part of the evidence for the London Plan and is necessary to ensure that the London Plan is found sound at Examination in Public and can be adopted.

Given the previous work that the consultant team have undertaken on this study in relation to assumptions and costing, the timescale required for the work and that the support at the Examination in Public will be to defend the initial study, it is important to use the same consultants to provide this additional advice and evidence. Exemption from the standard procurement process is therefore being requested.

The Draft London Plan has been subject to an Integrated Impact Assessment and has been consulted upon for 13 weeks period.

Financial comments

The cost of this consultancy project will be funded from the London Plan Programme budget approved as part of the 2018-19 GLA budget setting process.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

28th March 2018

Delivery Start Date

29th March 2018

Final evaluation start and finish (self):

April 2019  (subject to timing of Examination in Public and adoption of the plan)

Delivery End Date

April 2019  (subject to timing of examination in public)

Project Closure:

May 2019 (subject to timing of Examination in Public and adoption of the plan)


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