Conditional sale of a residential development site

06 June 2023

I acted for a landowner on the conditional sale of a residential development site to a national housebuilder with a deal value of £2.8 million.

Part of the site was subject to various covenants and rights which hindered development for residential purposes, so it was agreed that the site would be split into two phases (phase 1 being the part of the site that was immediately developable and phase 2, the part of the site that required releases of the covenants and rights restricting development). The site was also subject to an existing overage which we had to address as part of the site assembly.

The contract was exchanged on a conditional basis, which required:

  • The seller to obtain a satisfactory planning permission for the residential development of the site;
  • The buyer securing a release of covenants and rights with the beneficiaries (a total of 17 adjoining landowners) restricting development of the “phase 2” land (“site assembly condition”); and
  • The buyer seeking a full release of the existing overage with the beneficiary (“overage release”).

The contract allowed the developer to acquire phase 1 in the event that the site assembly condition was not satisfied by the longstop date.

The site assembly condition proved difficult to satisfy, as negotiations had to be undertaken between 17 different landowners and their solicitors, to negotiate the terms of the release. As part of these negotiations, the client had also agreed to transfer additional garden land to the landowners – we therefore had to agree the terms of the transfers of those parcels of land with the landowners and the developer. This negotiation process has taken the best part of 18 months to achieve.

The planning permission is due to be granted in November 2023 and once it reaches practical completion this development will deliver 48 homes in an area where there is currently a shortage of affordable housing. The planning permission will also require the developer to create open space areas on and to contribute toward the improvement of local playground/ recreational areas, creating a beautiful place to live for all.

It feels so worthwhile to work on transactions whereby you are having a direct impact on addressing the national housing shortage and creating beautiful spaces for people to live – whilst also helping my client achieve their objective of disposing of the site, on the right terms. 

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