Evidence from Simon Gale, Director Prosperity and Development Services, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Planning



The challenge across South East Wales


      The need to respond to housing demand is relentless

      There is a gap between supply and demand, across all tenures

      Big builders and the ‘snow line’

      Large stalled sites / post-industrial legacy of sites

      The ‘demise’ of SMEs building houses


RCT Study into stalled sites

There is no overriding reason why sites become stalled:-



      The need for up front infrastructure;

      Contamination on brownfield site and “Abnormals” particularly from past coal mining;

      Personal reasons

      Too may risks not being quantified to give confidence to invest;

      Multiple land ownerships;

      Access to finance;

      No experience in making a planning application.

      Existing site values


There are some emerging broad themes.

      Some sites, particularly in the valleys are simply unviable because the cost of developing them is more than the current revenue.

      Small sites, which historically would have been built out by small, local builders have stalled because those small companies are struggling to access finance.

      Risk of the unknown is a barrier to investment in marginal sites.

      There are a number of sites that on paper are viable but need considerable upfront investment so that cash flow becomes a barrier.


Peak Cash Flow (see table 1 below)

      Key issue arising out of the viability study.

      Not usually picked up in traditional approaches to viability where the focus is on residual land value and profitability.

      Major issue for SME builders.


Table 1

Potential Solutions

·         Maximising existing finance opportunities including Development Bank of Wales

·         Joining up Landowners with SME developers

·         Plot Shops

·         Guiding SMEs through the planning system

·         De-risking sites