Bringing a fresh perspective to development consultancy
From identifying strategic development opportunities to planning submissions we are able to tailor our services to each and every client, whether a land owner, developer, occupier or investor. Our clients are at the heart of our business, so we always take the time to understand their needs.
Roger Hayward, Senior Partner and Chartered Surveyor, who heads our Development division, has been specialising in planning and development matters including strategic site sales and acquisition, viability assessments and site appraisal and valuation for over 25 years.
As we believe that ‘experience is the best teacher’, we have prepared a development advice Q&A for anyone looking to dip their toe into the wonderful world of development!
Do you provide development advice for land and development projects of any scale?
However large or small your project, and whether a commercial or residential development opportunity, we can guide you. From advising on local planning policy to deciding on the best use and mix to maximise the value of your site through to winning planning approval and the final sale of the site, we’re on hand to help.
Can you help to identify strategic development opportunities?
Yes. We are experts at interpreting planning policy, identifying strategic development opportunities, carrying out viability appraisals and development management. We have close links with a wide variety of other professionals in the field including master planners, architects, highway engineers, ecologists and heritage consultants who can assist in overcoming the wide range of potential development issues.
Do you offer project management advice?
We offer a full project management service. No matter the size of your development project, rural or urban, commercial or residential, our Development team are committed to finding the scheme that will produce best value from your site. We can be on hand thereafter to advise and assist you until the sale of the finished development is complete.
What are your core services?
- Identifying the mix of uses and unit sizes best suited to maximise the value of your site
- Weighing up potential risks against expected rewards
- Carrying out detailed planning and financial appraisals
- Negotiating with planning officers and overseeing planning applications to determine timescales and costs
- Project managing an appropriate team of consultants
- Suggesting a suitable marketing strategy for the site
- Overseeing and negotiating the optimum sale price and contract terms .
I am a private landowner looking for advice on my greenfield site. Is this something you can help with?
Yes, we offer a full technical advice service, advising landowners and developers in both the private and public sectors with services tailored to individual needs.
What are the specific areas covered under your technical advice service?
- Greenfield and brownfield site appraisal and valuations
- Redevelopment of commercial sites and business relocation
- Planning policy representations
- Planning applications and appeals
- Strategic land promotion and marketing advice
- Sale and acquisition of development sites
- Site valuation and financial appraisal
- Viability assessments for planning purposes
- Rural land use assessments
I need a valuation and appraisal of my site. Do you specialise in this?
We are specialists in site viability and valuation. We provide clear appraisals and valuations of sites based on extensive local knowledge and research, and can value on the basis of existing use and assumed planning permissions.
I need to raise finance, are your valuation reports accepted by my bank?
If you need to raise finance, our reports are accepted by the majority of the major clearing banks’ panels in the locality, as a basis for any loan application.
Why do sites have differing values and viability?
Every site is unique. Whether due to access, previous use, planning constraints or layout, not all sites have the same development potential. Establishing the viability and value of a site is a difficult task, given changing markets and building regulations, not to mention rising costs of materials and labour. Reviewing all of the options is imperative to ensure our clients get the best return from the site they own.
What are the most typical areas you advise on?
We advise on single plots, greenfield sites, strategic land, building conversions, regeneration schemes and major commercial and residential developments.
Do you offer advice on new homes?
Yes, we provide new homes appraisals and market valuations and have a specialist New Homes team that deal with local and national developers.
What areas are your valuations suitable for?
- Site appraisals, alternative use opinions and viability studies
- Site and completed development valuations
- Bank valuations for site acquisition and development loan advances
- Probate and asset valuations of properties with development potential
Do you offer assessments for independent land use?
Using our knowledge of the local market and years of experience, we can determine the best use or combination of uses for the land and likely sale value. For example, you may have a piece of land that you feel could be put to better use. It might be farmland on the edge of a town or village, or an urban site being used as a skateboard park and we would be able to offer a comprehensive assessment.
We can also undertake independent land use assessments to ensure that time and money are not wasted pursuing development proposals that are either not viable or do not give rise to the highest end value.
I’ve been told that my plot of land is ideal for housing. Can you confirm if this viable?
We will assess the location, likely market interest and any constraints and opportunities that apply to that site. For example, you might think a plot of land is ideal for housing, but if the land is in the flood plain or the road access is owned by others, there will be complex and possibly costly issues to be resolved.
Do I need to seek expert advice on the impact my project may have on the environment?
Many projects need to be assessed to determine the level of impact on the environment. Large developments frequently need to produce an environmental impact statement, this assesses noise and air quality, local ecology and the likely effect of development on the landscape. Even relatively small planning applications concerned with the conversion of barns or farm buildings will need to be accompanied by bat and barn owl surveys. Other protected species that may be present on the site, such as Great Crested Newts, could affect the timing and duration of the construction works. Ground contamination is another potential environmental hazard likely to affect planning decisions and impact on building costs.
Should I take any action to protect my planning interest?
Now is the time for landowners, developers and property owners to take action to protect their planning interests. Part 2 of The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduced the concept of Local Development Frameworks. The Framework comprises a series of Development Plan Documents now referred to as Local Plans. The Local Plan must have regard to National Policies and set out how Local Authorities are to meet their housing and job creation needs based upon standardised housing growth projections. The Plan is time specific and provides a comprehensive set of planning Policies and Development Management rules and procedures applicable to different forms of development. The Local Plan is subject to Public Consultations leading to a Planning Enquiry and eventually the Adoption of the Local Plan
What are the areas in which you would be able to act on my behalf?
- Monitor national planning policy and its likely impact on Local Development Frameworks e.g. The National Planning Policy Framework
- Monitor the emerging Framework document in your area and advise on the strategic implications for local landowners and suggest potential opportunities
- Submit representations in response to draft Local Development plan documents
- Give evidence at Local Plan enquiries supported by local and regional market evidence
- Once Local Development Frameworks are in place and adopted, we can monitor annual and five-year housing supply figures assessing the potential to bring forward additional windfall or brownfield sites to meet housing need.
- We act for both private and institutional landowners and are working directly with those landowners or indirectly through strategic developers to promote a number of development opportunities, both small and large in the region.
Can you prepare and advise on the submission of a planning application?
Yes, we prefer to select and lead a team of experts best suited to your development project as planning is an increasingly complex area which requires specialist advice and assistance.
The submission of a planning application will have to be accompanied by detailed plans, supporting statements and expert evidence. The design and layout of a scheme needs to maintain a balance between the often-conflicting requirements of planning policy and economic viability.
What role would my project manager play?
- Carry out a site appraisal to ensure your scheme is realistic and viable in planning terms
- Offer interpretation of planning policies and advice on best routes to follow to obtain consent
- Compile an Employment Demand Report if appropriate
- Recommend a choice of unit size and mix of uses that maximise the site’s sales value
- Work with the chosen architect to design and maximise the scheme layout
- Promote the scheme to the public and other stakeholders
- Identify whether other relevant required specialist advice is required e.g. Flood Risk, Ecology, Tree Survey, Noise Levels, Archaeology, Listed Building Consent
- Negotiate with the planning authority regarding Community Infrastructure Levy (Section 106 agreements)
- Monitor and report on the progress of the planning application
What if my planning application is refused?
If your application is refused, we will advise on the likelihood of success at appeal and how your application could be varied to improve the chances of success.
This may be by way of a written submission to the Planning Inspector, or through a presentation to a hearing or public enquiry. We will liaise with the Local Authority and the project team, and research relevant policies and appeal decisions to support your case.
We have a wealth of expertise and specialist knowledge within our team so if you would like to discuss your specific project or require further information about planning services or development advice, Roger Hayward would be delighted to hear from you.