Planning Applications

Development Viability Model (DVM) assessment tool

The Council has worked alongside Town Planning and Development consultants Burrows-Hutchinson Ltd, and in partnership with other Councils across the region, to establish the Development Viability Model (DVM) assessment tool.  

The DVM has been created as a comprehensive, user-friendly model for the purpose of assessing the financial viability of development proposals. It has been produced to work with Microsoft Excel for Office 365 running on Microsoft Windows. Further details on the specifications of the DVM are set out in the User Guide, which can downloaded below.

DVM User Guide

The DVM is a ‘site-specific’ appraisal tool. Each copy of the model that is issued by the Council will relate to a specific development site. The same copy of the model can, however, be re-used to assess more than one proposed scenario for development of that specific site.

At the planning application stage, the DVM can be used as a tool to evidence the financial viability of a development proposal.

The standard fee schedule for viability assessment of planning applications is as follows (all charges are subject to VAT and may change over time):

  • Sites of up to 9 units: £695
  • Sites of 10-20 units: £895
  • Sites of 21-50 units: £1195
  • Sites of 51 or more units: £ by agreement, depending on size / complexity

The high-level review that the Council will undertake of a completed DVM submission will check the appropriateness of the information provided by the site promoter as part of the appraisal.  This process will also ensure that the cells in the DVM’s spreadsheets have been appropriately completed. The review will consider whether:

  • Evidence supplied to support costs and values used in the submitted FVA is sufficient and proportionate;
  • The suggested timescale for the development are realistic; and
  • The FVA accords with policy requirements of the Council and with other guidance and/or policy statements that are pertinent to the assessment of Viability in a Planning context. 

Following completion of the high-level review, the Council will issue a simple statement to the site promoter to indicate the extent to which it considers the submitted FVA meets the tests outlined above.  

The standard fee schedule above does not allow for any time that a site promoter might wish to spend debating the findings of the Council’s initial high-level review of an FVA. Additional fees may apply in instances where further officer time is necessary as a result of the site promoter entering into further exchanges with Council relating to the appraisal submitted, and/or if the supporting evidence submitted is insufficient.  

The Council recognises some information required to demonstrate viability may be considered by the site promoter as commercially sensitive. However, the issue of sensitivity is not a sufficient reason to avoid providing the appropriate evidence. 

FVAs prepared in conjunction with planning applications will not be made publicly available and will be treated as confidential between the Council and the person or organisation that has submitted it.

The DVM User Guide (see link above) describes how the DVM works, setting out details of the information that the user is required to input to the relevant cells of the model. 

Each copy of the DVM also incorporates a 'Quick Guide', which is aimed at those undertaking an assessment of a purely residential development site of no more than 6 acres (2.43 hectares). 

Users are also advised that ‘Help Notes’ are built into the model, embedded within the worksheets themselves, the purpose of which is to remind the user what to do on each sheet. 

To obtain a copy of the model for a specific site, and/or to discuss matters relating to the DVM more widely, please contact the Planning Support Team ( in the first instance. They will provide contact details for whichever case officer has been assigned to the planning application for which you wish to carry out the viability assessment. The case officer will then organise release of the model and provide any further advice that is needed.

ID: 2314, revised 03/05/2024