Building a successful business case to secure public funding support at a time when planning regulations are constantly evolving is not straightforward. The push towards net zero, the renewed focus on social value, an updated Green Book and initiatives such as levelling up have all contributed to changes for business case development.
The evolving guidance from the government around good development that qualifies for public funding support leaves developers with two choices: rush through a business case to try and ensure it is successful based on the current guidance; or invest more time in ensuring the business case takes into consideration potential future concerns.
Often, the first option is perceived to be the only option. But given the speed and pace of regulatory changes, along with increasing demands on the built environment, trying to rush a business case rarely leads to good outcomes. The sector needs to be more cognisant of changes coming down the track and build in more time to create successful business cases.
The government’s Green Book acts as a starting point for guidance on how to ensure themes like sustainability and social value are considered as part of any business case. But, again, the guidelines often change so we cannot simply focus on what the Green Book says today.
The environmental agenda is only going to grow over time. So, what will that mean for the sustainable legacy of our buildings? When will we need to demonstrate a detailed approach to the way schemes have been designed as inclusive spaces as the D&I conversation continues on a global level? We need to be asking and answering questions like these when developing business cases – not just to ensure schemes get off the ground on time but to ensure the property sector contributes to a better economy.
Property is a core part of how the UK can build a greener and better economy, so making detailed, well-researched and clear objectives for development as part of business cases is more critical than ever.
Bindu Pokkyarath is associate director in the business cases and funding team at Turley