Why order a Planning Search?

2015 saw over 1,200,000 residential property transaction completions and 2016 is set to exceed this.

House For Sale

The UK has also experienced a sharp increase in asking prices, with the average asking price recorded in March 2016 as £303,190, a 7.6% increase on the previous year.

With house prices set to rise even further, as demand for housing increases, it is more important than ever to ensure that purchasers are choosing the right home for them and are aware of all potential developments well ahead of purchase.

With a housing shortage as great as the UK’s, the Government and developers are under pressure to build more and more, and properties can be seen popping up left, right and centre.

Large scale housing developments, which have been the subject of a few stories over the past few weeks, are very unlikely to be identified in the suite of mandatory searches, such as the CON29 Local Authority search, and may only be picked up by specialist companies.

In any property transaction, it is heavily advised the purchaser employs ‘caveat emptor’ – buyer beware, as all may not be as it seems when viewing a property. However, there may also be times when the future purchasers have already made an offer, such as the recent case of Ms Chow.

Ms Chow had paid a £2.5m deposit on a 7 bedroom property in London – NW8, and her solicitor had carried out a planning search which disclosed the plans for a new academy school, housing 1400 pupils and some 6 storeys high, yet failed to mention the matter in their report in title –  presumably due to the distance from the property, which was 91m.

Her solicitors were found liable for a £2m breach of duty after failing to advise their client of a major development close to her £25m London property.

Not only do large scale developments such as this have a negative impact on the aesthetics of a property, there are other lasting effects such as increased noise and air pollution as well as traffic.

Planning searches are not always the easiest to navigate, especially in large urban areas where there is a wealth of information.  One of the best on the market is the Groundsure Planning report, with an extended search radius which allows for easy identification of developments and also summarises the number of house extensions, small and large projects on the front page.

Groundsure has also developed a unique report which removes misinterpretation altogether. The Groundsure Planning with Opinion uses the expertise of in-house Environmental Consultants and highlights any potential major issues within an area.

The first rule of a conveyancing transaction is that all purchasers should employ ‘buyer beware’ especially of sellers not disclosing information, and you should carry out your own independent enquiries.

The second is to ensure that you thoroughly read your reports and discuss any potential issues with your solicitor or conveyancer.

If you would like further information or wish to order a Groundsure planning report, contact X-Press on 01925 393333 or email enquiries@xlsuk.com