With the potential economic impacts of COVID-19 becoming increasingly clear, it is only natural for landowners who have recently secured valuable planning permission for development, often as a result of a significant investment of time and money, to be more cautious.

Carter Jonas has several landowning clients across the country that face some challenging choices, especially in the context of a development market slowdown, over what to do next. Whilst we are still handling encouraging market activity, there are now some difficult decisions to be made by landowners who are contemplating sale. Where this is the case, we are ensuring that we are working closely with our clients to offer our trusted advice and ride out these uncertain times.

The temptation for many is to ‘hunker down’ and wait for market recovery. The reality in most cases is that there is still a lot of important preparation that landowners should consider undertaking before going to market that can create added value and de-risk development opportunities. 

This applies to all development sites, from barn conversion opportunities and edge of village plots through to large housing schemes and urban extensions.

Indeed, in certain cases it can take two to three months post planning permission before a development opportunity is ready to be marketed. Therefore, we suggest that landowners should use the time created from a potential hiatus wisely. Such preparations include the following:

Often planning permissions are granted subject to a raft of conditions that should be carefully considered before marketing. In some cases, there can be conditions that require clarification or discharging. Some of this work can be done now, at minimal cost, to avoid unnecessary complications through the conveyancing process.

For further information, or to speak directly to one of our development professionals, please contact us.

Each site will have its own specific constraints that should be considered prior to marketing. In almost all cases however, it will be important to consider both ground conditions and the local utility network before marketing. If investigative work into associated costs can be undertaken prior to marketing, it can significantly reduce the risk of a purchaser looking to renegotiate on price or other terms of the agreement once an offer has been accepted. 

Some of these works can take six to eight weeks to complete, so should be considered now.

We have a national database of approved contractors and are experienced in procuring these works on behalf of our clients. To minimise any delay, we have also now identified a shortlist of those contractors that can still operate within the current Government guidelines.

For further information, or to speak directly to one of our development professionals, please contact us.

Finding a solicitor with the necessary expertise in the sale of development land is very useful. Before marketing we always look to work through the development opportunity with our client’s solicitor to identify and, where practical, resolve any legal constraints in advance of sale.

If this can be done, it will ensure minimum disruption through the conveyancing process and should aid in realising a sale sooner.

For further information, or to speak directly to one of our development professionals, please contact us.

We are currently working with all our clients to ensure that these tasks are considered where appropriate. 

Most importantly, setting out a strategy for market preparations now will ensure that as soon as there are clear signs of market recovery, our clients development opportunities will be the first to hit the market and reach a captive audience of developers, who will be keen to ‘play catch up’.

Over the coming months, decisive and realistic guidance will be essential to our clients if they are to realise the very best results from their development opportunities. We will be by their side to guide them through these strange times and would be delighted to do the same for you too. For specific advice on how to achieve the development potential of your land, please contact us to speak to one of our dedicated professionals.
Our specialist teams operate at national level. Select a region below to find your nearest consultant.

Jon leads the Carter Jonas London development team, providing strategic development advice, feasibility and viability studies, acquisition, disposal and marketing advice and advice on structuring and procuring development partnerships. He has 30 years’ experience, working initially in local government and then in consultancy at Donaldsons, Knight Frank and GL Hearn.

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John is Head of the Leeds office and the Planning & Development Team North. John advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the North of England.  He has over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial development acting for private, corporate, institutional, charity and public sector clients.

This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities.

John has specific expertise in Options, Promotional Agreements, Joint Ventures and Conditional Contracts, acting mainly for landowners.  John has been involved in projects such as new settlements, to city centre regeneration, provincial sites, large commercial developments and site sales.

The Development Agency team are currently instructed on 6,500 acres in 150 locations across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East.

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James is Chairman of Carter Jonas.  Formerly Head of the Planning & Development Division, James advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the south of England with nearly 30 years of experience in residential and mixed use development.  This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities. He has specific expertise in option, promotion and other development agreements, joint ventures and landowner equalisation agreements. James has been involved in sites ranging from new settlements to city centre regeneration and smaller provincial and rural schemes, and also provides expert witness and independent expert valuation services for dispute resolution.

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Matthew has acted for a wide number of Landowner Clients including:

  • Royal Estate Sandringham
  • Crown Point Estate
  • Cecil Family Trust
  • Greene King Plc
  • North Hertfordshire College
  • Cemex
  • May Gurney
  • Pigeon
  • Advice, marketing, disposal and additional tranche disposal of 1,500 unit Residential Development in Grantham.

Project team principle for disposal of the NHC Centre of the Arts, Hitchin, securing a Development Partner and assembling a professional team to progress an application, sale and disposal of a principal asset within the College’s portfolio 

Mathew has over 29 years' experience in the property industry and has been directly involved Residential Development in East Anglia since 1998. He specialises in Land Disposals and Acquisition; Strategic Land, Promotion and Option Agreements. He has acted for a wide range of private and public sector land owners companies including Greene King, Royal Estate Sandringham; Grant Thornton, Pigeon, Crown Point Estate, Cemex (formerly RMC), The Diocese of Norfolk & Norwich and North Hertfordshire College as well as private land owners across the region.

He is Head of Residential Development at the Cambridge Office.

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Steven is Partner and Head of Planning Southern Region and is based in our Oxford office.

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