Farmers Guardian Editorial December 2013


Senior Partner David Cowburn was recently contacted by The Farmers Guardian to talk about one of his specialist areas – Approaches to farmers by developers looking to benefit from the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Full article below.

FARMERS and landowners have come under increasing scrutiny from property developers since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework

in 2012. Those with land bordering the urban fringe have seen an increased level of interest from parties who have spied potential development opportunities. But farmers need to be wary of the pitfalls awaiting them and know all the options before they embark on a scheme is crucial. David Cowburn, partner at Armitstead Barnett Chartered Surveyors, said farmers could be left with a lower financial return than they had initially hoped for, something Farmers Guardian has been contacted about from several readers in recent months. And he stressed there were a number of  options for farmers to consider. From the middle of the last decade, the onus for planning consent was set at a regional level and administered via initiatives such as regional spatial strategies. But when this was ended by the coalition Government in 2010, national policy took hold and meant land which had previously been out of reach was now on the planning agenda, especially against a backdrop of a low UK housing stock.

Mr Cowburn said: “New towns are an option but they require huge infrastructure investments from Government such as railway stations and other local services. Therefore, most new development will be on the urban fringe with market towns and villages being particularly attractive to developers. “The issue for the landowner is they often sign agreements which mean they get a percentage of the market value of the development once it is sold. The problem is the date of sale is often unknown, as is the market value, and farmers end up with less than they were hoping for.”

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