At the strategic policy level our expertise includes a range of development strategies, regeneration objectives and economic, sustainability and planning policies.

Economic regeneration & urban renewal

Clients trust Keppie Massie to advise on all aspects of economic regeneration and urban renewal strategies.

Consistent evolution and adaptation are the cornerstones of all successful places, whether they are small hamlets or major cities. That process of change can be difficult and invariably requires careful management and direction to maximise outcomes. Where the market alone cannot deliver urban renewal, an external stimulus is needed to boost regeneration.

Keppie Massie’s advice encompasses all stages of the process, from inception to delivery, and we have an enviable track record of advising on regeneration projects across the country.

At a macro level, it advises on regional and sub-regional economic initiatives and policies for promoting regeneration, while at a micro level we regularly advise on individual projects, their sufficiency, suitability and delivery. We also advise on the adequacy of infrastructure provision and the stimulus it can provide to regeneration.

At the core of the firm’s holistic approach is a comprehensive and pragmatic approach to evidence-gathering, thorough analysis and experienced assessment to draw robust conclusions. Its key elements typically include:

  • identifying the need for regeneration
  • the form, type and location of the required renewal
  • market demand and supply justification
  • economic viability
  • the process of delivery, funding and procurement
  • utilisation, management and output assessment

This expertise is recognised by a broad range of clients, funders, institutions and other stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors, including the EU, national governments and their delivery bodies.

Planning & development policy

An effective planning and development policy is crucial in delivering future residential and commercial development.

Robust, sustainable policy must reflect real world market requirements and dynamics and be founded on a thorough evidence base.

The economic viability and deliverability of a development are central considerations to all planning policy. Policies must be deliverable and accord to market demand while also being aware of the likely lifespan of those policies.

Keppie Massie works regularly with local authorities and other organisations in formulating both borough-wide and area-specific development policies, while we also work alongside other registered providers and developers.

The firm has a strong track record of presenting viability evidence to stakeholders at public inquiries or other forms of examinations, while advising upon items such as:

  • Local Plan Preparation
  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedules
  • Affordable Housing Policies
  • Area Action Plans

Economic viability underpins the evidence base supporting the Local Plan and a strong and balanced economic viability study ensures that a local authority has a planning framework that maximises the prospects for new development and associated infrastructure.

It enables development to be targeted at key and preferred locations within the emerging Local Plan, thereby promoting regeneration, maximising employment and ensuring a controlled approach where any rural sites or greenbelt land are released for development.

Development economics & viability assessments

Whether at a broad policy level or a specific scheme or project level, development economics and economic viability assessments are a crucial consideration for property developers and local authorities.

A properly informed and sound economic viability study ensures a local authority has a planning framework that optimises the prospects for new development, balanced against the need for certain planning obligations and infrastructure, that will enable new neighbourhoods and employment locations to flourish.

We are experienced in preparing viability assessments, including the preparation of assessments for the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for both residential and non-residential development, together with other matters such as affordable housing policies and Area Action Plans.

Our private sector clients include a range of national and local developers, house builders, development managers and other organisations throughout the UK. We are also appointed to the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) panel to undertake development viability assessments of EIB funded schemes nationally.

We are retained to provide economic viability advice to a number of local planning authorities in respect of planning applications. This role also includes the negotiation of planning obligations and S.106 agreements and acting as an expert witness, as required, in planning inquiries.

Similarly we advise developers where S.106 obligations make developments unviable and we have helped many clients to secure reduced S.106 obligations. Our expertise in this sector is recognised nationally and we are one of only 20 expert mediators appointed by the Homes and Communities Agency and Department of Communities and Local Government to resolve impasses in S.106 Agreements and reactivate development.

Capacity, feasibility & market studies

To make a fully informed decision, it is essential to understand the market using a solid base of evidence that has been sourced and analysed rigorously. Such an approach avoids costly errors or potential challenges if a decision is considered to be suspect.

The capacity of a market to fulfil the aims of a particular strategy, policy or project must be understood and tested thoroughly from the outset to determine whether they are feasible. This includes the unique dynamics, potential, limitations and shortfalls of that market.

Our market investigations and advice follow a considered process of research and analysis that allows us to quickly form robust and reliable conclusions.

Consultation and stakeholder input is critical and the management of this process and its outcomes underpin the success of such studies and the conclusions that are drawn. Soft market testing is often crucial too, so must be undertaken in a methodical and impartial manner.

We have prepared many market capacity and feasibility studies for various different purposes across the UK, ranging from geographically based studies, involving the whole market in a defined area, to market, sector and scheme specific studies.

Infrastructure, energy, renewables & sustainability

As investment into infrastructure, energy, renewables and sustainability continues to evolve rapidly, so too does the funding and legislative landscape in these sectors.

We have extensive experience of advising a range of clients including public sector promoters, transport and energy companies, developers, end-users and landowners. Our expertise encompasses the initial feasibility stage, through detailed appraisal, to budgeting and delivery.

At the outset of a project, we are able to provide a robust feasibility study with considered estimates of issues such as project benefits, delivery costs and issues, site availability and land assembly costs based on the information to hand.

The inception of a project requires a thorough review of budget estimates, viability studies and delivery feasibility and we can support in areas such as site selection and land assembly, including land acquisitions by private treaty or compulsion, the securing of easements, wayleaves and other necessary rights and consents.

We can also help to assess project outcomes with a cost-benefit analysis in relation to additionalities, i.e. the net positive difference that results from the economic development intervention, and whether that intervention has a real impact on the scale, quality or speed of the activity.

Education, healthcare, arts, media & sport

Organisations in these sectors invariably occupy specialised buildings and have very specific criteria around site selection, funding and occupational arrangements.

However, in a market driven by mainstream requirements and in the face of ongoing funding pressures, they still need to meet commercial objectives in their estates by maximising efficiency, returns and utilisation while minimising costs.

The built estate is typically one of the most significant assets and the largest potential outgoing, perhaps second only to staffing costs, so careful management and strategic development of the estate is critical to future success.

We have an established track record of providing advice including estate planning, new site selection, project viability and funding. Estate strategy and planning is particularly important to organisations in these sectors given the longevity of such decisions and the difficulties of reversing them. Decisions therefore need to be based on a fully informed property strategy.

Opportunities for the management and exploitation of the estate, as well as possible decisions around expansion or contraction, must also be identified and strategies and programmes put in place.

Strategic land and asset audit

Property is an extremely significant asset class that dwarfs many other sectors in its contribution to the UK economy and provides the basis for the majority of our major industries and wealth creating operations.

The value of UK residential property is estimated at £4,250bn, whilst commercial property and other non-residential buildings are valued at over £820bn according to British Property Federation figures (2011). This compares to an equities sector worth around £1,825bn, plant, machinery and vehicles at around £690bn and UK Government bonds estimated at approximately £1400bn.

It is vital therefore that all organisations, whether they are public, private or third sector bodies, have a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and potential liabilities of their property assets within their wider business planning.

Property comes in many different forms, from the tangible freehold estate, leases and ongoing lease liabilities to licences and other contractual arrangements and rights.

It is important to understand the estate and be aware of any contractual arrangements and obligations, rights, options, easements and encumbrances, alongside statutory and prescriptive rights or obligations, planning conditions and S.106 and S.278 requirements.

We have undertaken many strategic land and asset audits of existing property estates and third party land, ranging from individual sites to area-wide intervention proposals involving many interests.

The audit considers not just what the interest is, but also its occupation and use, as well as its opportunities and threats, to arrive at a series of recommendations around issues such as expansion, consolidation, remodelling, repositioning, maximising returns or exploitation.