Development proposals and your local authority search
When it comes to choosing a new home, your future surroundings can be as important as the building itself. But could somebody else’s development plans affect your property?
Claire Wicks, Legal Executive in the Residential Property team at Parnalls Solicitors, looks at the planning and development information a local authority search will reveal, and offers some tips for buyers.
Some buyers get a nasty shock
Many buyers think their local authority search will tell them about any development proposals that could adversely affect them. However, that is not always the case, as two recent examples show.
Mrs G was excited to be moving into a new area and bought a house next to a primary school. She knew the school was there, but the school was small, so she did not foresee any problems. A little later, she discovered the school had permission to build an extension. The extension would overshadow her home and restrict her views. Mrs G also worried that the development would devalue her property and make it harder to sell in the future.
In another case, Mr D bought a house on a new estate and was shocked to discover soon after that a local road closure meant heavy traffic would be routed past his front door. The wide road and grass verges had attracted him to the property in the first place. He was unaware of plans to create a new access point on the estate so that the road could take through traffic.
In both cases, the buyers’ solicitors had carried out a standard local authority search. Although the search results were correct, they did not reveal the development proposals and left the buyers feeling very disgruntled.
What your local authority search will and will not show
When you are buying a property, your solicitor will carry out a standard local authority search. This includes a search of the local land charges register. The results will include details of any planning applications which affect a specific property at the time of the search. However, they will not give you any information about planning applications, or consents, which relate to neighbouring properties. So, in Mrs G’s case, they would not have told her about the school’s plans to build an extension.
Your solicitor will also ask the local authority a set of standard enquiries. These replies are also generally limited to the property itself. They will not tell you about proposals for adjacent or adjoining properties and are unlikely to give you very much neighbourhood insight.
This basic local authority search effectively forms part of a standard conveyancing checklist. A good solicitor should recognise what makes you, and your purchase, unique. Rather than treating the local authority search as largely a box ticking exercise, they may suggest additional searches and enquiries. These could give you more information about likely planning and development changes, which could influence your decision to purchase.
Concerns over a wider area may need additional enquiries
Your solicitor may recommend a plan search. This is a detailed planning search which will reveal existing consents or applications relating to nearby properties, usually within a 250 meters radius of the property you are buying. So, it should, for example, tell you if your prospective neighbour has permission to build an overbearing extension. Or if a high-density housing development is planned for those open fields, the views over which ‘sold’ the property to you.
If you instruct a specialist local solicitor, you will also have the benefit of their unique insight into the area, something a remote online conveyancer is unlikely to be able to match. Your solicitor’s background and experience may also pay dividends when it comes to interpreting the search results. For example, in the case of a house on a new development, like Mr D’s, a basic local authority search should reveal the planning permission which authorises its construction. However, that permission alone may not tell you about what is happening elsewhere on the estate and surrounding area. A solicitor with local knowledge, who understands that permission in the context of the planning history of the entire estate, may help give you a fuller picture.
Safeguarding your purchase
If you have any specific concerns about the property you are buying, then discuss these with your solicitor early on. They can then tailor their searches and enquiries to best reflect your requirements. For example, if a view is important to you, they can check whether there are any plans to develop on neighbouring land that would spoil it.
It is important to appreciate that any search will only provide a snapshot in time. Because there is no plan to develop land at the point you buy your home, it does not mean an application to do so may not be made in the future. Making the most of local knowledge and tailored investigations can reduce the risk of disappointment, allowing you to concentrate on enjoying your new home.
For further information, please contact Claire Wicks, Legal Executive in the Residential Property team on 01566 772375 or email email@example.com
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.