Tag: development

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No matter who wins the next election, the number of new homes to be built on greenfield sites is set to rocket. The opportunities for landowners in key locations will greatly increase, but there will be winners and losers.

Politicians of all colours have played football with the housing market for years. In one breath they voice support for first-time buyers wanting a home at an affordable price and they criticise the housebuilding industry for failing to increase production. In the next, they vow to protect the countryside from unwelcome development, pretending that new homes can all be built on brownfield sites and allowing local authorities to fail to plan for sufficient new houses.

Both main parties aim for around 300,000 new homes per year, but for decades they have barely provided two thirds that number. Meanwhile, the population continues to grow, and houses remain unaffordable to many. Supply is not matching demand.

What is causing this shortfall? The Competitions and Markets Authority has recently submitted a major housebuilding market study, concluding:

Nothing will change until after the election, but whoever wins, it is likely that our housing shortage will be a growing political problem. Both main parties know that housing is the second basic need for the populace, after putting food on the table. The backlog has now grown too large to be ignored and, one way or another, housebuilding will be increased over coming years, driven by central government. Most of the increase will be on greenfield sites adjoining existing settlements.

Some will mourn the loss of parts of our cherished countryside and that is understandable. However, for some landowners, a windfall from a development scheme can be a much-needed shot in the arm for a farming business or for an expanding family. Many of our farming clients have benefited from modest developments on the edge of a larger village or town and often those developments prove to be well built, while providing valuable contributions to community facilities by way of a Section 106 agreement.

The process of promoting land for future development is very specialised and must be handled with skill and care. There are many pitfalls, including the possibility that land could be compulsorily acquired at agricultural values. The development world is populated by many who will take advantage of the unwary. Nevertheless, there are many professional land agents and land promoters across the country who work together to produce the best possible results for landowners and I would advise anybody with land with potential to take professional advice at an early stage.

There is no doubt that opportunities for the right land must increase considerably in coming years. In terms of housing supply, the next general election cannot come too soon.

If you would like more information or to find out how our Development department can help you, then please contact David or Andrew.

When it comes to land that sells for development, it may appear that some landowners are just lucky but that is not the case; such landowners have made their own luck! Turning farmland into a potential housing development happens by actively and successfully promoting the land (usually over several years). If a landowner is not trying to promote the land or working with third parties to do so, they have little to no chance of success.

Is now the right time to promote my land for development and what’s the current development market like?

It is no secret that the development land prices have dropped from the 2022 peak (prior to Liz Truss’s mini budget in October 2022). A few examples of issues that housebuilders and purchasers are contending with are:

On the flip side, development land prices continue to benefit from a limited supply of good development sites available on the market and in turn, limiting the current reduction in sales prices. Looking forward, it is predicted that the inflation rate will slow to around 5% by the end of the year, which will also benefit the sector.  

Development sites often take many years to promote and a few years to construct. Therefore, there is ample time for the market to recover for a development scheme that begins the promotion process today. In addition, a net minimum sale price (per acre) can and should be put in place to protect the landowner. Our knowledge of strategic development sales is invaluable in the sales process to ensure that the best price can be achieved given the current market circumstance. 

What are my promotion options?

Promotion Agreement

A promotion agreement is a legally binding contract between the landowner and a land promoter. The promotion agreement is created to bind the parties to work together in achieving a desirable planning permission. The promoter funds the planning process entirely at their risk and if they are unsuccessful then the landowner has nothing to pay.  However, if the promoter is successful then the land is marketed, a proportion is paid over to the promoter and the remainder is available for the landowner. There are of course many other important terms within a promotion agreement to protect the landowner which would need to be carefully negotiated. The correct land promoter will bring with them experience and expertise that is invaluable to achieving the desired outcome.

Option Agreement

An option agreement is a legally binding contract between the landowner and a developer. The option agreement grants the developer the right to purchase the land from the landowner during an option period in return for an option fee. The developer may look to gain planning on the land during the period. The purchase price the developer will need to pay the landowner will be pre-agreed within the option agreement. The price could be a fixed price or a discounted percentage from the agreed market value of the site at the point of sale. The right to exercise the option lies with the developer.


Land can be promoted by the landowner, usually with the help of an agent and other third parties. The landowner will look to fund the promotion of their land themselves, the benefit being that if their promotion is successful, the landowner will keep a higher amount of the proceeds. It is usually more viable for a landowner to promote their land on a smaller scheme.

How can we help?

Robinson & Hall, acting as land promoter, has promoted smaller sites for clients and the costs for the promotion are shared between Robinson & Hall and the landowner. We would take a pre-agreed percentage of the final sale if the promotion was successful, similar to any other promoter.

Robinson & Hall can increase your odds

We act for the landowner, not the promoter, to achieve the most favourable terms. Factors that are often negotiated include the upfront payment to the landowner, the length of the term of the agreement and the percentage split of the proceeds.

Robinson & Hall has a preferred list of promoters who we approach on behalf of our clients and who have a track record of successfully promoting sites for development.

From instruction to the point of sale, we will be working on behalf of the landowner to achieve the best results.  

If you are considering your options and would like to find out how we can help you, then please contact David Jones, Partner at Robinson & Hall, on 01234 362906 or Hugo Bryan, Assistant Development Surveyor at Robinson & Hall, on 01234 362894.

Over the last three years, we have seen a growing trend of landowners being approached by developers looking to develop new garden villages. These garden villages are often within the open countryside on land that we would not normally consider suitable for development as it is not adjoining any major settlement.

The garden village concept is for these communities to be self-servicing, with a local service centre, and to vary between 1,000 and 3,000 houses. The area of land required is significant at 200 to 600 acres per village and we have noticed a trend towards being close to a train station and/or good road connection.

The garden village concept therefore offers huge opportunities to landowners to gain the benefit of development proceeds, whilst also creating a development that they can be proud of with a focus on place making and designed with the community in mind.

The first few developments using this new concept have now received planning permission and the house builders, in particular the large PLCs, like the concept due to them being able to provide a significant housing number over the long term. The advantage to the local councils is that it provides the opportunity to locate housing away from further expansion on the edges of existing conurbations.

With the continued need for new housing sites and the Government preparing its Strategic Framework for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, we are already involved in negotiations for a significant number of garden village sites and expect to see further proposals come forward through the planning system.

If you are a landowner and are approached about a new garden village development, please do consider it carefully and discuss it with us at an early stage. The development of such land may feel farfetched but it may now be far more likely than it once was.

Should you have any questions then please contact Andrew Jenkinson, Partner and Rural Chartered Surveyor, on 07967 964508 or email abrj@robinsonandhall.co.uk