Planning Permission Changes Will Push Up Land Prices

Extra work which landowners will have to carry out before achieving outline planning permission will persuade some to sit on their investment, according to property specialists Strutt & Parker.

Those who decide to go ahead will find it takes longer to get that coveted permission. Both factors will mean less land on the market being chased by the same number of buyers, resulting in higher land prices.

Changes to planning law which will be effective from August 10 mean owners must provide far more information at the outline stage than before. “This undoubtedly is going to slow down a system which is very slow anyway,” says Roger Pryor, Partner-in-Charge of the Firm’s Residential Development Department. “Land with permission carries a premium because developers will buy without it only if there is a heavy discount. Added to that, a reduction in the supply of land will mean fewer houses and that in turn will also force up prices of homes.”

Pryor believes the new planning laws will come as a shock to many prospective land sellers because the changes have not been widely publicised. Previously, outline permission could be given on scant information and the land then sold on to a developer who would put in a detailed plan. But now hard facts on design, size, use and access will have to be set out, plus wider public consultation.

“Landowners now need a range of architectural and planning experts right from the beginning and the extra work will put six to nine months on the time it takes to get permission,” explains Pryor. “It makes it much more expensive and although having outline consent means more money eventually, that sale cheque will be a lot longer coming in.”

About 70 per cent of land coming on to the market is brownfield and 30 per cent greenfield, owned by a wide mix of individuals, companies and land speculators.

Strutt & Parker, 10.08.2006

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