Planning for profit
Looking to enhance the value of your property by securing planning permission? Robbie Mather outlines the costly legal loopholes to avoid.
Many people look to enhance the value of their property (land or buildings) by securing a planning permission, and then on the back of this look to either secure a sale of the property at an increased value or to raise bank finance.
However, simply by securing a planning permission does not always guarantee the value which the land owner was hoping to achieve at the outset.
There are numerous examples of where planning applications do not take into consideration legal matters which a property is subject to, which can have adverse impacts for the property owner, including:
- reducing the anticipated value of the property, with adverse impacts if the land is to be sold to a developer or used for bank finance;
- if the landowner is carrying out the development project itself there can be notable time and costs implications should a revised planning application be required.
I have seen numerous examples of approved planning permissions which cannot be implemented due to a host of legal reasons. Common legal issues which appear time and time again include:
- planning applications being submitted on the basis of topographical surveys and not legal title;
- areas of the application site being subject to restrictive covenants for no building – but the site layout could have been reconfigured to locate buildings on the part of the property which was not subject to the restrictive covenant;
- third party rights over the property (e.g. easements for services and rights of way) which could have been incorporated into where new estate services were to be laid and estate roads/footpaths to be constructed;
- Conditions attached to the permission which cannot be discharged without the consent of a third party (e.g. inappropriate drainage rights into adjoining land), which can often lead to the development project being ransomed.
If the legal aspects were considered at the outset of the planning application, it could have avoided time delays, increased costs for the property owner, and secured the land value for land sales/bank lending matters.
The vast majority of issues that I have seen could have been easily avoided if the land owner had sought legal advice when they were contemplating submitting a planning application.
If you are thinking of submitting a planning permission for development of land or buildings, seek legal advice to ensure the permission is capable of being implemented in its proposed format to ensure your investment is secure.
If you are thinking of embarking on a development project, contact Robbie Mather at firstname.lastname@example.org. For specialist advice on planning applications, contact Burnetts’ planning team on email@example.com
About the author
Robbie is a Partner and head of the Commercial Property team.