Fortune Favours the Bold
Posted: 14th May 2017
As the famous proverb goes, and if you have ever seen the TV programme Grand Designs, you will know that bold is something you'll definitely need to be to take on the challenge of a self-build project. However, if you are prepared for the challenge, here are a few issues you will need to consider before buying your building plot:
Building plots are in high demand. You will be competing not only against other self-build enthusiasts to secure one, but also professional developers. If no suitable sites are being advertised, consider approaching local land agents to register your interest, in case any new sites become available. Alternatively, if you've already seen the ideal plot, but it's not yet for sale, consider approaching the landowner directly.
Bear in mind that some plots are more costly to develop than others. The most marketable ones will already have full planning permission, minimal planning conditions, and will be conveniently located next to a public road containing all the usual mains services. If your plot does not tick these boxes, you may be paying too much for it. Bear this in mind when pitching your offer.
Buying a site without planning permission is a big risk, and while it can reduce the upfront cost of buying the land, you may regret it later if your application isn't successful. Consider offering the landowner a reasonable payment in return for an option on the plot. This will give you the right to buy it, but only if you get planning permission. Alternatively, novice developers may prefer to find a site that already has planning permission secured.
Restrictive covenants are found in the deeds to a property, and can prevent a parcel of land from being used for particular purposes. They have foiled many a development, and it is vital to check whether your building plot is affected. That said, just because a covenant appears in the deeds does not mean it is valid and enforceable. This is something we can check for you.
For historic reasons, the minerals located under much of the land in West Cumbria are owned by the local Lords of the Manor. The owners of these minerals are sometimes entitled to compensation because a proposed development will interfere with their mineral rights. If your building plot is affected by third party mineral rights, we can advise you whether compensation ought to be paid.
Director and Solicitor
Peter Marrs is based at our Workington office and may be contacted on 01900 67363.