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  • Working with WRP on the land promotion agreement was an enjoyable and transparent process.   I was kept fully informed throughout, ensuring I was involved in any key decisions and felt part of the exciting journey from the beginning.

Pickmere Hall Farm

When our client inherited Pickmere Hall Farm, she knew it had huge potential. It was in a beautiful Cheshire location, with 90 acres of farmland and several traditional brick-built farm buildings, as well as the original farmhouse.

However, the farm had been vacant for a number of years and the buildings had all fallen into a poor state of repair. Some were extremely dilapidated. Bats and other wildlife had moved in.

Our client knew the old farmhouse and barns could be turned into beautiful homes, but she didn’t want to manage the building work herself. She was also worried about underselling the site and concerned about the costs and uncertainty of applying for planning permission.

Land Promotion

On approaching Wharfe Rural Planning, we suggested working with her under a Land Promotion agreement. This meant we would cover all the costs involved in seeking planning permission and finding a buyer.

We would take responsibility for each step of the process so that she didn’t have the worry, stress or financial challenges usually associated with seeking planning permission. Once the site was sold, we would be reimbursed for our time.

 

The hurdles

There were a great number of challenges to overcome. While the buildings weren’t Grade I listed, they were classed as ‘non-designated heritage assets’ due to their age and historical interest. The presence of bats was a concern as several species are protected.

HS2 is being built nearby, meaning that highspeed trains will pass within 700m of the site, and the farm’s highway access was limited.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the buildings didn’t have access to mains water. Plus, the site was within the Cheshire Green Belt.

In short, there was a good chance that planning permission would not be granted for the whole site.  Our client was sensible to choose a Land Promotion agreement. Without one, she might have incurred considerable expense and placed herself under inordinate amounts of pressure, with no guarantee of success.

With a Land Promotion agreement in place, our client wouldn’t owe us a penny unless we obtained planning permission and achieved a sale.

How we helped

We met with our client on several occasions to discuss her options. We recommended selling the site in three plots: the farmhouse, one barn to convert into a single home, and a further barn that could be converted into two semi-detached barns. Separating the site in this way would maximise its value.

The land had not been registered with the Land Registry, so we applied for its first registration. We then managed the whole process of applying for planning permission and undertook other necessary work, such as getting the buildings connected to mains water and electricity. Again, this increased the site’s value.

We kept in touch with our client throughout the process, as she explains, “Working with Wharfe Rural Planning on the Land Promotion agreement was an enjoyable and transparent process. I was kept fully informed throughout, ensuring I was involved in any key decisions and felt part of the exciting journey from the beginning.”

 

Engaging with the local community

Our client’s family had worked on the farm – it was an important part of her history. She had many fond memories of the time she spent there and didn’t want to do anything to upset the neighbours. She says, “Wharfe Rural Planning are community conscious, and this was very important to me as I wanted to ensure that the development was in keeping with the original character of the site and the area. Wharfe Rural Planning honoured my wishes at every step.”

 

The result

Planning permission was granted, and we worked with Knutsford estate agent Stuart Rushton & Company on the sale. The plots proved popular and were soon sold to two self-builders and a developer.

With a Land Promotion agreement, Wharfe Rural Planning takes a small percentage of the sale price, rather than a fixed amount. Ultimately, this means that our main goal is to achieve the highest possible sale price, which benefits both ourselves and our client.

Our client or the subsequent owner could have been liable to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for the development. We were able to offset the CIL on the building sold to the developer and agree self-build exemptions for the other two plots. Because of this, Sheila didn’t have to pay the Levy, saving her tens of thousands of pounds.

 

One happy client…

“It was a pleasure to work with such straightforward people with excellent attention to detail. I couldn’t be happier with the service I have received and the outcome overall.”

Are you interested in a Land Promotion agreement?

The planning system is incredibly complex and costs can rack up quickly. Land Promotion is a good option if you don’t want to risk paying fees upfront. And it’s one of the best options if you want to maximise value.

As Ben Wharfe explains, “With a Land Promotion agreement in place, our interests and the landowner’s interests are perfectly aligned. The more value we can make from the property, the more the owner makes and the more we make. It adds an extra element of challenge and interest for us while minimising the risks to the landowner.”

If you’d like to find out more, please call us on 01565 746910 or email info@wharferuralplanning.co.uk. We can discuss your site and answer any questions you might have.

Emma MoorePickmere Hall Farm