We were asked by the estate manager to review their development opportunities as they were not happy with their existing local agent’s advice. The subject three fields adjoined the existing town boundary but had not been promoted in the local plan process. There was some early negotiation in place with a neighbour about buying an access through their land for a small scheme but this would have given one third of the value away as a ransom payment. Having reviewed the housing need for the district area our opinion was that a larger scheme was possible that would allow an existing road frontage to be used and remove the need for the third party payment.
We were instructed to undertake a low profile marketing exercise to a range of developers that we knew to be active in the area; a number of offers were received and the most credible proposal was taken through to an option agreement.
The planning authority liked the scheme and asked for it to be submitted as an application ahead of an allocation in the plan as they did not have a five year land supply but believed this site was a sustainable location given its walking distance from existing shops, local facilities and employment.
Frustratingly the planning committee voted against their officer’s recommendation. Eventually, following some revisions and explanation of the benefits to the town and district councillors of the public open space that was being offered with the scheme which would allow a circular link to be provided for walkers the scheme was approved and the land bought by the developer over several phases which assisted their cash flow and enhanced the payments to the landowner. We brought in a quantity surveyor to review the detailed construction costings provided by the developer and identified a number of double counting areas and costs that we did not agree as realistic and hence savings that were resulted in a higher payment to the landowner.
- Selection of a well funded developer who continued to promote the site despite some set backs along the way and with the reserves to continue promotion despite an economic downturn that hit the housing market.
- Essential community consultation by the developer but with support & input from the landowner who had good local knowledge.