Guide Viability Guidance Notes

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4. Viability Guidance Note 4: Vacant Building Credit

This Guidance Note sets out how Vacant Building Credit will be applied in East Devon.

Vacant Building Credit (VBC) was introduced via a Written Ministerial Statement in November 2014 and then introduced into the NPPF 2018 in paragraph 63. Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) states that “national policy provides an incentive for brownfield development on sites containing vacant buildings. Where a vacant building is brought back into any lawful use, or is demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer should be offered a financial credit equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of relevant vacant buildings when the local planning authority calculates any affordable housing contribution which will be sought. Affordable housing contributions may be required for any increase in floorspace.”

The PPG also states that “the policy is intended to incentivise brownfield development, including the reuse or redevelopment of empty and redundant buildings. In considering how the vacant building credit should apply to a particular development, local planning authorities should have regard to the intention of national policy.  In doing so, it may be appropriate for authorities to consider:

  • Whether the building has been made vacant for the sole purposes of re-development.
  • Whether the building is covered by an extant or recently expired planning permission for the same or substantially the same development.”

Applicants wishing to claim Vacant Building Credit need to explicitly state this as part of their planning application and set out on what basis they think it is justified. If claiming VBC as part of a submitted Viability Appraisal, the appraisal should clearly set out the amount of VBC being applied, and how this has been calculated. It is anticipated that the consideration of any requests by applicants for VBC will be included in the Planning Committee report or the officer’s delegated report.