What is a development appraisal and why do I need one?

Napthens - July 10th 2019

As part of our Farm Future package, we can provide you with a development appraisal of all your land, should this be of interest.  Basically this involves an assessment of your holding with a view to trying to identify development opportunities for the future.

This starts with a trusted land agent or planning consultant reviewing your land ownership plans and confirming if you have any land that is immediately available for development in the Local Plan.  Further it can identify options for conversion of existing dwellings and more long term strategic applications to the relevant authority.  That said it is not just an appraisal of the planning regime and options.  If there is positive feedback on the likelihood of planning, we can also review the title to your land to ascertain issues which may either impact on the ability to develop, or lead to a reduction in the profit in the event that planning is granted.

These checks will include the following:

  1. Checking if you have direct access to a highway, or for any gaps in the title;
  2. Checking for any restrictive covenants which may limit development without a third partiers consent;
  3. Checking for any easements (such as pipelines) crossing the land, which may impact development and advising on any provisions permitting the relocation of the services (should the deed contain the same);
  4. Checking the terms of any tenancies or other occupation of the land to ensure you can obtain vacant possession easily;
  5. Reviewing and advising on the terms of any overage or clawback and what the triggers are for payment;
  6. Advising on land ownership to ensure that the tax implications of development are considered and that the development or ultimate sale is achieved in the most tax efficient method.

This list is not exhaustive but gives you a feel for some of the issues that can be faced if an appraisal is not undertaken up front.

The Development Appraisal is usually undertaken to supplement the Property Audit element of our FarmFuture pack.  The reason for this is because once we have the Property Audit, we then have plans of all your holding. It is not just looking at options for residential development of the site, we have also identified opportunities for clients to use land for backup power generation for the grid, diversification for mineral extraction as well as other diversification options.

We can then also advise on any related agreements, be that an option with a developer, a promotion agreement, or any related planning agreements.

With Brexit on the horizon and the inevitable reduction in available direct subsidies, looking for alternative land uses to supplement the farming enterprises is a good way to ensure the safeguarding and future profitability of the farm.  With this in mind there is nothing to lose, so get in touch if you wish to discuss further.