MARK Chugg, Associate Land and Planning Specialist, discusses the changes to planning policy, the impact this could have on landowners in the South West and why employing the experts could make this less of a risk.

Recent changes to both national and local planning policy have provided landowners, (especially those with land close to built up areas) with an opportunity to bring their land forward through the emerging Local and Neighbourhood Plans for allocation for housing, employment or mixed-used development.

The planning system is complex and there are a limited number of landowners who are prepared to spend their time and money taking their land through the transition from agricultural to development. The potential outlay required, coupled with the uncertainty that any investment will provide a return, let alone an uplift in value, are often key concerns.

Those prepared to go through the process and are successful, tend to have been well-advised from the start - having employed the right planning and property professionals to advise them.

The benefit of employing the professionals is simple. Rather than trawling through the complex planning process without support and guidance, our Development Land & Planning department will be able to:-

• Submit planning representations

• Deal with pre-application enquiries

• Co-ordinate and submit planning applications as well as dealing with the application procedure and process

• Appeal refused permission, if required.

This relieves a huge burden from landowners and provides more likelihood for success.

Of course, some landowners (understandably) do not want to take the risk at all. The alternative in these cases is for them to consider working with a third party - namely a housebuilder or a land promoter who will take on the associated risk instead.

Once this route is agreed upon landowners will be required to enter into a legal agreement - either an Option, Hybrid or Promotion Agreements.

What these agreements mean is that the third party take on the responsibility, control and risk of taking the land through the transition from agricultural to development. To do this they will use extensive resources (time, in-house expertise and external property consultants and sources of funding) to promote the land through the emerging Local and Neighbourhood Plans and submitting a planning application for housing, employment or mixed-use development (where applicable).

While Option and Promotion Agreements have the same promotion/planning function, once planning permission is granted the outcome is very different for the landowner.

• An Option Agreement is effectively a 1-2-1 between the landowner and house builder and the calculation of the market value and sale price of the land, is based upon a formula and valuation procedure.

• A Promotion Agreement allows the landowner and promoter to sell the land in the open market with the sale price being at market value.

So where do we come in and how can we help?

Our Development Land & Planning department has a team of Development Surveyors and Planning Consultants that have the expertise, knowledge and experience in this specialist area and can support landowners through the transition, no matter how they wish to proceed.

• We can make representations to the Local and Neighbourhood Plans with the aim of achieving an allocation

• We can make a planning application (outline or detailed) either before allocation (if there is a shortfall in five-year housing land supply and the site is in a sustainable location) or after allocation and on grant of planning permission market and dispose of the land

• We can help landowners identify either a land promoter or house builder to promote their land for development, make a planning application and maximise its value

• If landowners are not prepared to wait for an allocation due to the time delays involved, we can identify interested parties that will purchase the land, with an overage should planning permission be forthcoming in the future.

If you own land and would like advice and guidance on how best to proceed, our dedicated Development Land & Planning department are able to advise. Contact us on: 01823-334466 or email: