Ashton Road, Lancaster

Affordable Housing Viability was the last remaining issue holding up planning approval at the proposed Wrenman Homes development of 59 dwellings on land off Ashton Road, Lancaster.

We were brought in to help facilitate the development of the site by providing affordable housing viability consultancy advice.


Key details

Project name

Ashton Road Viability 


Wrenman Homes



Halton, Lancaster 

Services provided

Affordable Housing viability 


The council believed the scheme could deliver a policy-compliant provision of 30% of the dwellings as affordable accommodation, which was reaffirmed by the council’s viability consultant.

However, the site had many physical challenges and costs that were not in a typical development or accounted for in a viability assessment. It has steep topography and the need for large cut and fill areas. These are all constraints with having a sloping site, and the work involved in building houses into the landscape.

Our job was to prove to the council that the costs put forward were robust and justified for a departure from policy, as the costs were higher than envisaged.


Working in collaboration with a local cost consultant to produce a detailed cost plan, we tested a wide range of different scenarios to demonstrate the inherent viability issues with the scheme. Liaising with various stakeholders, we undertook a variety of different financial development appraisal sensitivity tests. This was to demonstrate that even at the ‘best-case scenario’, the scheme would return a lower-than-viable level of developer profit. This was in part due to a county council requirement for significant Section 106 contributions to highways and education.

We established that the proposed development was deliverable as a 100% open market scheme, gaining unanimous support from the planning committee. This facilitated the development which will significantly add to the affordable housing land supply in an area that is undersupplied.

“Dan Hay of RPS has provided viability services for several of my developments which have helped Wrenman Homes challenge local planning authorities’ independent consultants with a positive outcome. We have found Dan to be extremely experienced in this area. RPS and Dan are very easy to work with, they are approachable, attentive, and understanding of my business needs. They deliver on time and within a reasonable budget.”

Warren Cadman , Managing Director

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