Family homes valued at £0 due to planning and building failures
BBC documentary highlights issues related to new builds on brownfield sites
Homeowners become victims as key issues were not properly resolved
A recent episode of the BBC documentary Rip Off Britain featured homeowners in a new-build housing development in Bradford who were stunned to find out that their properties were valued at £0 thanks to planning and building failures (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-54464159).
As the government continues to push for development on brownfield sites, this story highlights the importance of both proper land investigation (and resultant mitigation), and also a collaborative approach from planners, developers, landowners and solicitors.
For new-build properties such as those featured here, it should have been almost impossible for a prospective owner to get a mortgage without sign-off from an approved warranty scheme (such as that run by the NHBC) or a Council of Mortgage Lenders Certificate. And what were the council doing? We assume that they have been providing services such as refuse collection to the estate whilst also collecting Council Tax to pay for it, all with a planning condition that has not been fully discharged.
However, this also highlights how important it is for the developers to stay on top of the build programme and the planning condition and to also understand the implications of the contaminated land conditions. In that respect developers need to know their limitations and employ people experienced in the development of brownfield land such that they don’t over-pay for the land as the installation and validation of the remedial measures can be costly and if not properly managed can put additional strain on timeframes and finances.
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