Nearby Planning, What Should I Do?
Posted on 25th March 2020
At MG Legal, when acting on your behalf in purchasing a property, our Preston solicitors carry out a standard searches bundle on your behalf. The searches bundle includes a local authority, environmental, coal and mining and water and drainage search. For more information on property searches and their importance to your conveyance, see our blog here.
With regards to nearby planning, it is the local authority and environmental searches which are of significance to your Preston solicitor in order to assess the potential impacts. Taking each in turn:
- Local Authority Search: The local authority search makes provision for what are known as the Planning Register, and the Register of Local Land Charges. These Registers will reveal entries confirming planning applications that are registered against the property itself, such as extensions and conservatories, but also those within the local area. For example, the Register may confirm the existence of a Section 38 Agreement that is in place to cover the making up and maintenance of the roads surrounding the property, for example in the nearby Preston area. Such agreements may not affect the property specifically, but may give rise to further development in the nearby area. Your Preston solicitors would, of course, raise the necessary enquiries in respect of the same.
These Registers will also advise whether any planning permissions have been granted in accordance with certain provisions that are to be complied with. Your conveyancing solicitor can then make the necessary enquiries to determine what the conditions are, and how the same may be set to affect you, as the new owner(s) of the property being purchased.
The local search, in addition, will reveal entries that could mean planning at the property, and/or in the vicinity, may be restricted. For example, the search may confirm that there is a Town and Country Planning Order registered, or Conservation Area controls which would place restrictions and stricter conditions on potential development. This is relevant not only to any proposals that may arise in the area, but also individually, should you have plans to alter or develop the same, which should be carefully considered.
- Environmental Search: The environmental search used by our Preston solicitors will confirm the number of planning applications in existence within a certain radius of the property. Whilst the search does not confirm exactly what each application relates to, this will provide prospective property owners with an indication as to whether the surrounding area is being developed. Where high volumes of applications have been revealed, this will provide an indication as to how likely planning in the area is to affect you.
The search goes on to advise, where necessary, of any planning constraints that are in existence, for example, where the property is within a visually or culturally protected area. This would, therefore, confirm any restrictions that may be in place in respect of planning, but would also provide an indication as to how likely any large-scale development within the area may be, given the constraints that may be in place.
What else can you do?
In order to obtain even more guidance on this issue, there are further steps that can be taken, inclusive of:
- Enquiries: Specific enquiries can be raised via your conveyancing solicitor to directly ask the seller if they are aware of any plans or proposals to develop the nearby area. In addition, if there are any specific questions you have, these can also be raised. See our blog on the importance of raising such enquiries. In addition, if you are in contact with the seller directly, why not ask them!
- Do your research: When purchasing a new property, you should always do your research and this should extend to making enquiries as to nearby planning. This may be visible on a physical inspection, for example, question are there any open spaces in the vicinity which may be used for development? What services are there in the nearby area, which may facilitate the same?
- Look to the Protocol Forms: As part of the conveyancing process, the seller is required to complete a Property Information Form. Within this Form, there are specific questions which ask the seller to confirm whether any notices, correspondence or information have been received which may confirm that the nearby area is subject to development. As a buyer, reliance can legally be placed upon the statements made within this Form and, as such, there is a requirement on the seller to disclose any such information. This point should, therefore, be assessed by your conveyancer and, where necessary, further enquiries can be raised.
- Local Planning Portal: Useful information can, of course, always be found via the local city council’s planning portal and, should you wish to contact them, the local authority may be able to assist with specific queries you may have.
You should consider how the same may affect you, as the new owner of the property. For some, this may not be a cause for concern, however, where, for example, open spaces have been a specific attraction to a property and the same is developed, an alternative property may have been purchased.
Our Preston solicitors would, therefore, advise considering what nearby planning may mean for you. If there have been entries revealed within your searches, contact our solicitors in Preston for advice on what the entries mean, in order to make an informed decision on how your purchase progresses.
Get in touch today, with your conveyancing queries, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our expert team of solicitors in Preston will be on hand to assist.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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