In order to ensure that as much affordable housing as possible can be achieved on any site, local authorities in Dorset commissioned Three Dragons Ltd to investigate and report on the economic viability of developing housing sites across Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth.

A joint study of Poole and Bournemouth was completed in May 2008. A similar study was published in Purbeck in August 2008. The remaining five authorities (Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth / Portland) were covered in work which was concluded in January 2010.

The broad aim of the studies was to provide a robust evidence base that would examine the viability of different types and tenures of development in different areas and on the basis of this evidence to indicate ways in which policy might be developed to increase the delivery of affordable housing.

The study involved four main strands to the research:

  • Discussions with officers of the Local authorities which informed the structure of the research approach.

  • Analysis of information held by each authority including the profile of housing land supply.

  • Use of the Three Dragons model to analyse scheme viability (which is described in detail in the individual reports).

  • Workshops with developers, land owners, their agents and representatives of a number of Registered Social Landlords active in the area, at which the methodology was discussed and views sought on land values and other factors affecting scheme viability.

The conclusions of the studies can be found in a series of reports. The reports for Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, West Dorset Purbeck and Weymouth and Portland as well as an Overview Report summarising the findings are available on this page.

As well as providing the reports, Three Dragons Ltd also produced a viability model (or toolkit) which can be used to test the viability of individual sites. The toolkit may be made available to developers to assess the viability of their proposals for new housing development. Anyone interested in acquiring a copy of the toolkit should approach their Local Planning Authority to discuss its availability.

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