I have just corresponded with someone about development in London and thought I would repeat a section here:
The ‘viability’ argument drives me mad and local authorities should throw them out. If the developer really can’t make money on a site which they have purchased for development it means that they have paid too much for it; and why should the public bale them out?
The Peabody example sounds mad – ‘it will cost an extra £997,000 because of asbestos’ – well Peabody is a massive body and across the organisation should be able to absorb this. We need some Local Authorities with Planning Officers and Councillors who have the bottle (and professional knowledge) to tell developers to bugger off, and if they “can’t” develop a site the Council will Compulsory Purchase it at a price where someone can.