7 important factors to consider when buying land in the UK

In our first property development article we discussed option agreements. In this article we go back to basics and explore some of the most important factors you should consider before investing in a land purchase.

In our first property development article we discussed option agreements.  In this article we go back to basics and explore some of the most important factors you should consider before investing in a land purchase.

What is your intended purpose for the land? This could be construed as the most important factor, knowing your intended purpose will influence what and where you buy.

The location - If you’re thinking about developing a piece of land for residential or commercial purposes, to make your investment a success, plot location could be everything!  Look for areas with local infrastructure or somewhere which is due to benefit from infrastructure improvements. 

Land Use – The are seven different designated land zones in the UK: Agricultural, Woodland, Recreation, Transport, Residential, Community and Commercial and each of these zones can impact on how you use the land both now and, in the future, this will incur additional costs and a land zone change isn’t always guaranteed.

Utilities – This includes electricity, gas, water and sewer systems, and telecoms. If you’re building any kind of development which requires any of these utilities, you’ll need to think about where supplies could come from, the installation of these can sometimes incur a considerable cost and make the investment unviable.

Planning Permission – With any kind of development you’ll need to gain planning permission from your local planning authority. The likelihood of your application being approved will depend upon several factors and you’ll need to communicate the benefits of the build and the impact it will have on any local infrastructure.

Environmental searches – This will need to be conducted by specialist surveyor and covers issues such as: contaminated land, flooding, subsidence, energy and more which we will explore in another article. However, if an environmental issue is found you find that this will impact on your future planning permissions and any future insurance or mortgage requests.

Access – Access to land can sometimes be problematic. Having suitable infrastructure to allow any development to take place is key. You also need to be wary of land which is separated from a public highway by a ‘ransom strip’ (a small piece of land still owned by the previous owner or a neighbouring land owner, which is retained for the purpose of restricting development unless the ‘ransom’ is paid.)

 Whether you’re new or experienced in property development, our Commercial Property team can guide and assist you in navigating the development market.  Please do call for a free and without obligation initial conversation.  We look forward to working with you.