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Land Promotion and Option Agreements

Demand for new housing has seen unprecedented changes in recent years to the way in which land is brought forward for development.  There continues to be pressure on planners and developers to increase housing supply. 

Oakwood acts for a number of private landowners where land has been identified as having development potential.  Depending on the current status of the Local Plan it can sometimes take many years to secure planning consent; occasionally sites are in the Green Belt and have to be removed before a planning application can be made.

Whilst many farmers and landowners could instruct planning consultants to secure consent, the costs are often prohibitive and risks significant.  Oakwood can facilitate the introduction of a Land Promoter or Developer who will fund the planning process.  They will instruct, for example, all the necessary reports, such as environmental, ecology, highways, housing demand and make representations to the local authority.  Besides the funding, the right partner will also bring a wealth of experience in dealing with the various stakeholders, ensuring the right balance between obtaining a planning consent and the commercial viability of any scheme.  Developers’ requirements for land change in line with general housing trends so it is important to work with a partner who has good market intelligence.

A high proportion of planning applications are refused first time so either have to be appealed or re-submitted.  This is not unusual for schemes which are often speculative.  The partner will work with landowners to agree the best way forward to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Oakwood can provide advice on an appropriate deal and prepare detailed Heads of Terms setting out what is agreed between the parties.  We can also signpost our clients to other professional advisers where expertise is required, for example on VAT and tax, or the establishment of trusts.

It is vital that landowners get professional advice before signing any agreement for development, such agreements are long term with many pitfalls for the unwary.