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SURGE IN BUILDING PLOT DEMAND IS COUPLED WITH GOVERNMENT SELF-BUILD INITIATIVES

Earlier in the year, the Government unveiled its long awaited housing White Paper entitled "Fixing our broken housing market". As part of the proposals, the Government announced its intention to support the growth of self-build and custom home development as a mainstream option which will enable people to design and build their own homes. To facilitate this, local authorities are now required to maintain a register of applicants in their area who are looking to build their own properties. They are also obligated to grant approval for enough plots to serve this demand. The Government however has acknowledged that one of the main barriers to self-build is the access to land and plots.

Barford + Co has, for over four decades, had a significant involvement in much of the new residential development which has taken place in Huntingdon, St Neots, St Ives, Sandy, Biggleswade and the surrounding villages. Much of our residential and work has involved obtaining planning permission for, and selling building plots. Following a particularly busy period in late 2016 and the early part of 2017, we are now selling more plots for sale to cater for the exceptional and increasing demand which exists. In order to satisfy the demand, Barford + Co is seeking more land either with or without planning permission. For sites without planning permission our planning team is on hand to offer advice on the prospects for obtaining permission for development.

Relief from the liability to pay the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is available to self and custom builders who construct homes to be occupied as their main residence. The property must remain the principal residence for a minimum of three years post occupation. This is a further financial incentive to custom and self-builders. With significant experience in this area, Barford + Co is able to offer comprehensive advice on all aspects of CIL.

Some of the residential land sales which are been concluded by Barford + Co within the recent past include:

– Land at Ivel Road, Sandy – a superb individual building plot with an area of 0.24 acres, overlooking the River Ivel. Sold following strong competitive upward bidding and sealed bids.

– Plot at Gravely Way, Hilton, Near St Ives – replacement dwelling for a run-down prefabricated home. Following the submission of a pre-application enquiry by Barford + Co, this was another example where competitive up a bidding led to an exceptional outcome for the owners. The sale was arranged on a subject to planning basis where the purchaser obtained planning permission prior to the completion of the sale. This assured the owners of obtaining the best price.

– Abbotsley, Near St Neots - Gods Little Acre - two self-build plots, each with an area of 0.6 acres were sold following the grant of planning permission. Barford + Co secured permission for two custom build Potton style “kit homes”. Each plot was then sold to an individual self-builder. This was an example of advice being provided to the client on how value could be added prior to sale. A patient and considered approach led to a highly satisfactory outcome.

– Potton, Brookfields and individual building plot with an area of 0.125 acres was sold to a local developer;

Barford + Co also provides development and planning advice on sites of all sizes, with or without planning permission. The company sold a nine acre site at Fenstanton earlier in the year to Kier Homes and is close to concluding the sale of a large allocation for of 330 homes at Royston having obtained planning permission on behalf of the owners in 2106. Some of the mid-range site sales concluded by Barford + Co recently include:

- Eaton Gate (Former Inside Track premises) St Neots - Following instruction by national logistics company DHL, Barford + Co obtained outline planning permission for 43 homes on a former warehouse site at Eaton Ford St Neots. The land was then sold to St Ives based housebuilder Campbell Buchanan, which is now at an advanced stage in the development of its impressive and up market Eaton Gate development;

- Land at Ermine Street Huntingdon – the sale of a small site with planning permission for high-density scheme of 10 flats was concluded in May.

- Potton King Street – the sale of a car showroom with potential for redevelopment for housing was concluded on an unconditional basis within 20 working days of the instruction of solicitors. The purchaser bought the site on the basis of its potential for the small site to be developed with between eight and 12 apartments;

- Former public conveniences at Duck Lane Woburn – Acting on the instruction of Central Beds Council, Barford +Co conducted a pre-application enquiry for replacement of the toilet block with a single dwelling.  Following a positive response to the pre-app enquiry, we were able to conclude the sale of the site to a self-build purchaser.

 

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