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People and Case Studies

The Stadium for Cornwall

The Stadium for Cornwall is an exciting proposal to deliver a multi-purpose stadium at Threemilestone on the edge of Truro. Cornish Pirates Rugby Club, Inox Group, Truro and Penwith College and Henry Boot Developments are working together to deliver the scheme from private funding sources including a retail led mixed use development at West Langarth.

Chesters Commercial Ltd was instructed to prepare a viability report to independently assess whether the mixed use retail led development at West Langarth could generate sufficient surplus funds to pay for the construction of the Stadium for Cornwall. John Read of Chesters Commercial Ltd undertook the instruction, analysing the development inputs and advising on the consequences of changes in the market. John’s report was submitted to Cornwall Council and his conclusions supported by Cornwall Councils advisors GVA Grimley.

Planning approval for the scheme was granted in July 2015 and the developers are hoping that the stadium will be fully operational by August 2017.


The Manor, Shinfield, Reading:

The Shinfield case (APP/X0360/A/12/2179141) as it has become known is possibly the most important viability case to have been tested at appeal. Nigel Jones of Chesters Commercial appeared as an expert witness for the appellant and demonstrated a new approach to the assessment of the landowner’s return which has subsequently become known as the “Shinfield approach”.

In that appeal evidence of alternative/existing use value for the site together with a Residual Land Value (RLV) calculation based on the scheme free of planning obligations was submitted. The difference between the alternative/existing use value and the RLV free of planning obligations was taken to be the uplift in value attached to the consent. The Inspector determined that a competitive return for the landowner was deemed to equate to a 50:50 split of the uplift in value between the community and the landowner.

Nigel has subsequently demonstrated the approach at appeal in a number of cases and has been asked to present lectures to the RICS and RTPI on viability.

Research undertaken by the University of Reading and commissioned by the RICS, titled “Financial Viability Appraisal in Planning Decisions: Theory and Practice” dated April 2015 has examined appeal cases where the level of planning obligations has been in dispute. The Research advocates use of the “Shinfield” approach as an appropriate method to determine the level of planning obligations which should be levied on a development.


Garsdale, Frome:

John Read of Chesters Commercial Ltd acted on behalf of land promoter Terramond providing viability advice on a proposed development of new housing. The Local Planning Authority (LPA) was seeking a development in line with an outdated development brief which anticipated the inclusion of “flexible office/studio space” within the scheme as well as affordable housing and other S106 obligations.

It was clear that the development would not be delivered if the Council was unwilling to concede their aspiration to include flexible office/studio space within the scheme.

Terramond submitted an appeal which was heard at inquiry in August 2016. John Read successfully demonstrated at the inquiry that the inclusion of office accommodation was neither viable or deliverable.

A copy of the appeal decision can be downloaded here:


Farringdon, Oxfordshire:

John Read of Chesters Commercial Ltd acted on behalf of land promoter Welbeck providing viability advice on a proposed development of new housing. The Local Planning Authority (LPA) through discussion with stakeholders and the developer had built up an aspirational wish list which they expected the proposed development of 250 new homes to provide and fund including highways infrastructure, new playing pitches, education and affordable housing.

It was clear that the development would not be delivered if the Council was unwilling to negotiate on their aspirations and particularly affordable housing. John Read successfully demonstrated that if the Local Planning Authority expected the developer to deliver the highway infrastructure, playing pitches and other desirable benefits then the scheme would not be able to deliver any affordable housing. 

The LPA officers decided they were unable to prioritise the infrastructure over affordable housing however and the land promoter consequently submitted a new smaller application for 200 new homes without the playing pitches or highway infrastructure which could deliver affordable housing in line with the LPA’s expectations. The planning application obtained a resolution to grant permission in December 2015.