How we work
We take responsibility for the whole process – at absolutely no risk to yourself
Working with Westcountry Land makes it much easier for you to realise the full potential of your site. There is no need for you to get bogged down in the complexities or cost of the planning process – that’s our job!
The vital experience and expertise that you need
The main uplift in land value is achieved by obtaining the optimum planning permission. Achieving planning permission is challenging and fraught with difficulties but that is what makes development land such a valuable commodity. Securing planning permission requires experience, technical knowledge, and a great deal of tenacity. There can be some very challenging hurdles to overcome. John and Justin manage every aspect of the process.
You can choose how involved you want to be, but most landowners leave the entire process to us. It is really important to us that the process is kept as simple as possible, and we go to great lengths to provide services that remove any stress for landowners.
We are highly motivated to get you the best possible return
Once we enter into a partnership agreement with you, we pay all the costs associated with securing planning permission. There are no hidden costs.
Stages in a typical project
A typical project includes these five stages:
- We assess the potential of your site
- We agree our partnership arrangement
- We pursue planning permission (at our cost)
- We obtain planning permission
- Landowners financial return
Find out more about each stage...
Stage 1: Assess the potential of your site
The starting point is to discuss your land with you. We will assess the suitability of your land for development and, importantly, we will identify exactly what kind of planning permission will add most value. Targeting the right kind of planning permission is pivotal to the success of your project. It is the granting of planning permission that unlocks the value of your land.
With our very wide experience, drawn from working in property development on many different sites across Devon and Cornwall, we have the local knowledge you need to identify the true potential of your land.
We have expertise in developing residential sites, commercial sites, and mixed use sites. This has given us a unique understanding of the different land development opportunities that exist in our local area, which we can explain to you.
We pride ourselves on considering all the options that are open to you, so that we can select the approach that will maximise the underlying value of your site.
Stage 2: Put a partnership agreement in place
We only take on projects when we are confident that we will be successful in gaining planning permission. We then draw up a contractual agreement which details how we will work with you to achieve this.
This is not a ‘standard’ agreement. We are highly flexible and we are happy to explore a number of different options so we can tailor one that fits your particular circumstances. See our “Flexible Arrangements” for more details. (Link)
All the costs of gaining planning permission are paid by us – at no risk or cost to you at all.
Throughout the process the land remains your property and you can continue to make full use of it
Stage 3: Pursue planning permission at our cost
Once you have signed an agreement with Westcountry Land, we will start working towards gaining planning permission. We get to work on this speedily and you can be sure that this stage will be completed as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
A key part of this stage is the preparation of the plethora of technical reports that will be required to support your application. These all need to be bespoke to your site and are generally undertaken by independent specialist consultants. An average application will require 15 - 20 specialist reports. We project manage the entire process, as well as undertaking all of the architectural and planning services in-house, to pull it all together and we pay all costs associated with this.
The other vital part of this stage is to carry out all the necessary pre-application engagement with the local planning authority and in most instances, a public consultation; making the local community aware of our plans and giving them the opportunity to give their comments and feedback. We will then write a Statement of Community Involvement, explaining how we have done this and how we have addressed the concerns of the local community in our application.
We will, of course, keep you informed of throughout the entire process. We pride ourselves on an honest, personal service to each of our landowners and maintain clear communication throughout.
Stage 4: Obtain planning permission.
We understand the complexities of the planning process and the issues that are likely to be raised by the relevant authorities in Devon and Cornwall. Indeed, we have considerable experience and success dealing with contentious sites. We can therefore prepare and present your application in a way that will give it the very best chance of success.
However, should our application be refused by the local council, whilst frustrating, this is not the final planning decision. It is common for planning applications to have to go through the appeals process and we set up every site and every planning application on the basis that it will go to appeal. As such, our initial planning applications are often more robust and thorough so they are set up to succeed at appeal. In particular, Justin has many years of experience and a fantastic track-record, running and winning planning appeals and presenting evidence as an expert witness to the planning inspectorate.
There are three appeal procedures that can be pursued, either a written representation, informal hearing or public inquiry. We lead and assemble a team, which will include expert witnesses and all the necessary legal representation to present our case to the Planning Inspector. We will make sure we have all the robust evidence required to support the case for approval.
Stage 5: Landowners financial return
Once planning permission is secured, we move swiftly to the final stage- and the value of your land is realised.
Generally, we buy the site to develop it ourselves or in partnership. So once the planning permission is secured, our landowners have the comfort that we will purchase the site from them within the terms of our agreement.
Alternatively, if we have agreed to work with the landowner on the basis of a land promotion agreement, once we have been granted planning permission we will begin the process of finding the right buyer for your site. Under this form of agreement, we identify the purchaser and you sell directly to them, so there is no uncertainty about the true value of the site, and we are then paid an agreed percentage of the sales proceeds.
We will agree a land sales strategy with you which will identify the parties who will be invited to tender for your land. Westcountry Land frequently works with the country’s leading house builders and a network of local and regional developers, so we can identify the best marketing strategy to achieve the best value for such sites.