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justthisbloke

My Neighbour Played A Planning Permission Blinder

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About 15 years ago a field next to us came up for sale - scrappy pasture but cheap. I considered buying it but didn't pursue as I wasn't sure if we were going to stay here (ha!).

A couple of years later they get PP to build a "tractor store". I did wonder at the time just how many tractors you needed for that parcel of land. Particularly as nothing agricultural seemed to go on - they seemed to use the field as amenity space and do a bit of shooting. And, being an aficionado of the planning system, I had my suspicions.

Well, two weeks ago PP (or, rather, for the detailed minded of you, a certificate of lawful use) was granted to continue using "a redundant agricultural building" as a residential dwelling. Crafty buggers! And well done, I say! For £30k and a bit of a wait they get a nice house in the country.

Fortunately, they are decent types (genuine country) and, now that all is revealed, I'll forgive them the furtiveness I sensed when talking to them.

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I've seen this happen. Christmas tree growing seems to be a popular ruse as well - they seem to require a surprising amount of barn space and concrete hard-standing. It's not so great if you've paid lots of money for a house with rural views, and then find that the local "farmers" are all trying to find ways to build houses on their land.

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About 15 years ago a field next to us came up for sale - scrappy pasture but cheap. I considered buying it but didn't pursue as I wasn't sure if we were going to stay here (ha!).

A couple of years later they get PP to build a "tractor store". I did wonder at the time just how many tractors you needed for that parcel of land. Particularly as nothing agricultural seemed to go on - they seemed to use the field as amenity space and do a bit of shooting. And, being an aficionado of the planning system, I had my suspicions.

Well, two weeks ago PP (or, rather, for the detailed minded of you, a certificate of lawful use) was granted to continue using "a redundant agricultural building" as a residential dwelling. Crafty buggers! And well done, I say! For £30k and a bit of a wait they get a nice house in the country.

Did they build a building which now has to be pulled down?

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About 15 years ago a field next to us came up for sale - scrappy pasture but cheap. I considered buying it but didn't pursue as I wasn't sure if we were going to stay here (ha!).

A couple of years later they get PP to build a "tractor store". I did wonder at the time just how many tractors you needed for that parcel of land. Particularly as nothing agricultural seemed to go on - they seemed to use the field as amenity space and do a bit of shooting. And, being an aficionado of the planning system, I had my suspicions.

Well, two weeks ago PP (or, rather, for the detailed minded of you, a certificate of lawful use) was granted to continue using "a redundant agricultural building" as a residential dwelling. Crafty buggers! And well done, I say! For £30k and a bit of a wait they get a nice house in the country.

Fortunately, they are decent types (genuine country) and, now that all is revealed, I'll forgive them the furtiveness I sensed when talking to them.

Sounds an expensive exercise to me. Bear in mind, they presumably had to live somewhere for those years.

Could you afford to tie up £30k for 15 years (think at least £200k in today's sea of printed cash)? Then there's whatever they spent on lawyering the process and building the decoy.

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I don't think the cost is unreasonable - £200k would buy an utilitarian ex-council semi. An isolated place, with land and views and you name your price.

Also, the work-round isn't so much one of money - it's of do-ability. Without their patience and guile to play the game, no house would *ever* have been built there.

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Most councils are not allowing prior notification of permitted devolpment for the conversion of agricultural buildings into residential dwellings. Applicants then have to get prior approval to excersise their permitted development rights - the council then refuse this and insist on a full planning application. The Field to Farm website is full of information on this. I recently got refused my permitted development rights to put a small forestry shed on my land. Not really permitted devolpment if you are not permitted to do anything.

Edited by OurDayWillCome

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I don't think the cost is unreasonable - £200k would buy an utilitarian ex-council semi. An isolated place, with land and views and you name your price.

Also, the work-round isn't so much one of money - it's of do-ability. Without their patience and guile to play the game, no house would *ever* have been built there.

Not the same. I was talking about the difficulty of saving the amounts of money, while also meeting living costs. £200k would buy a mediocre semi, but so would £20k+mortgage. £30k was a lot of money to have in your back pocket. Though having said that, maybe you have to go back a bit more than 15 years for it to look quite like saving £200k cash today.

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To be fair, if he bought it in 2000, he might not be a norman invader :lol:

No of course not. Obviously a reference to the Norman conquests makes Tom the neighbour.

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On the plus side they have increased the supply of housing by one.

And because they won't sell at less than max price it also shows how all else being equal private builds do nothing to lower prices, and therefore planning has nothing to do with prices and everything to do with landowner windfall gains.

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And because they won't sell at less than max price it also shows how all else being equal private builds do nothing to lower prices, and therefore planning has nothing to do with prices and everything to do with landowner windfall gains.

If building has no effect on prices, then does knocking down houses also have no effect on prices? What if we knocked down, say, every house with an even house number?

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If building has no effect on prices, then does knocking down houses also have no effect on prices? What if we knocked down, say, every house with an even house number?

John Prescott tried knocking down houses to make things better in Liverpool etc, although I don't think he actually managed to do it. He did manage to reduce prices by leaving empty houses to deteriorate but that was not really a good thing.

I am sure logically there are people who can prove anything with logic although it makes me think"

Edited by iamnumerate

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If building has no effect on prices, then does knocking down houses also have no effect on prices? What if we knocked down, say, every house with an even house number?

I said private builds, not potential of (state) building generally. Rather than answer the tangent question, which gets into a difference between stock and flow of housing, why don't you explain how this PP and build will lower prices given constant demand?

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I said private builds, not potential of (state) building generally. Rather than answer the tangent question, which gets into a difference between stock and flow of housing, why don't you explain how this PP and build will lower prices given constant demand?

If supply of x increases and demand stays constant then it is a normally accepted view that prices get lower. There are of course exceptions but normally people given evidence why x is an exception not why it obeys this view.

Of course 1 house will not make any difference.

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If supply of x increases and demand stays constant then it is a normally accepted view that prices get lower. There are of course exceptions but normally people given evidence why x is an exception not why it obeys this view.

Of course 1 house will not make any difference.

Being a normally accepted view doesn't make it correct. It confuses the theory of adding to the stock of houses (where I suppose hypothetically generalising adding one more net house could decrease prices by 1/28 million houses) vs the practice of new private housing supply.

What happens in the real world when the manager of the locally operating homebuilder calculates that say 100 houses * (price * 0.99) = 99 houses * price, particularly given the potential knock-on effect from lower prices onto a larger portfolio of new builds, banked land and leveraged finance - and chooses to consequentially build one less house?

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I don't think the cost is unreasonable - £200k would buy an utilitarian ex-council semi. An isolated place, with land and views and you name your price.

Also, the work-round isn't so much one of money - it's of do-ability. Without their patience and guile to play the game, no house would *ever* have been built there.

Good on your neighbours! It's ridiculous that they should have to play such games in order to build themselves a home.

Personally I think that, whilst it would be unlikely to affect house prices generally, a blanket right to self build for owner occupation (retaining building regs and perhaps set out like an agricultural tie, wherein the resultant property could only be sold on if the conditions of its build continued to be met i.e. the new owners also used it as their primary residence) would be a social good. It would represent an increase in personal freedoms, it would be inherently tied to population size and so could not result in over development (though it might not prevent it from other sources either), it would encourage sustainable small scale additions to existing settlements over large estates that can feel somewhat overwhelming to residents, and it would allow people the opportunity to sidestep direct participation in housing bubbles.

There does seem to be some good stuff going on in this direction with the new Right to Build, although we've yet to see how effectively it will work in practice.

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Being a normally accepted view doesn't make it correct. It confuses the theory of adding to the stock of houses (where I suppose hypothetically generalising adding one more net house could decrease prices by 1/28 million houses) vs the practice of new private housing supply.

What happens in the real world when the manager of the locally operating homebuilder calculates that say 100 houses * (price * 0.99) = 99 houses * price, particularly given the potential knock-on effect from lower prices onto a larger portfolio of new builds, banked land and leveraged finance - and chooses to consequentially build one less house?

Of course a normal accepted theory is not correct. However normally people give evidence to oppose the status quo rather than demand evidence.

I doubt the local homebuilder might think that, although I doubt it. Of course if enough people could get round planning permission like this it would make prices cheaper.

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Of course a normal accepted theory is not correct. However normally people give evidence to oppose the status quo rather than demand evidence.

I doubt the local homebuilder might think that, although I doubt it. Of course if enough people could get round planning permission like this it would make prices cheaper.

That's exactly what developers think and do, because they can. As suggested above planning is a ridiculous game - of misdirection. If everyone had a permissioned plot in a reasonable location there wouldn't be so much of a problem - we'd all just self build using local builders rather than speculators. Instead land (permissioned or not) is monopolised, and actual building is rationed out by owners subject to profit motive, with PP gains only accruing to owners with no incentive for follow through to lower prices. Therefore the limiter on new net housing and prices is landownership and incentives, not planning.

The normal accepted theory is frustrating because for example average annual builds over past 25 years has been 183k. Even if there had been 20% more builds every year there'd be 900k more dwellings. Total housing stock is 28m, so on those terms that would have amounted to 3.3% extra and lower price impact. There are other supply factors but in simple, ex leverage terms it doesn't add up.

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That's exactly what developers think and do, because they can. As suggested above planning is a ridiculous game - of misdirection. If everyone had a permissioned plot in a reasonable location there wouldn't be so much of a problem - we'd all just self build using local builders rather than speculators. Instead land (permissioned or not) is monopolised, and actual building is rationed out by owners subject to profit motive, with PP gains only accruing to owners with no incentive for follow through to lower prices. Therefore the limiter on new net housing and prices is landownership and incentives, not planning.

The normal accepted theory is frustrating because for example average annual builds over past 25 years has been 183k. Even if there had been 20% more builds every year there'd be 900k more dwellings. Total housing stock is 28m, so on those terms that would have amounted to 3.3% extra and lower price impact. There are other supply factors but in simple, ex leverage terms it doesn't add up.

Surely housing stock is not relevant it is the number that are on the market? I can see your logic although why should there be only 20% more builds every year. Why not 100% more (historically possible). That would increase the number on the market by about 10% per year (assuming 4 million sold each year which I guess from the average move taking place every 15 years). Of course 200% more would make a lot more difference.

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