Our agreement with you

Setting up our deal

  • We talk to you. At the start it is about answering your questions and explaining what we do and how everything works.
  • We explain the difference between a promotion agreement and an option agreement. Here is a good starter.
  • We explain the options available to you relating to timing and financial management.
  • We talk about particular points likely to be in our agreement – until you are happy with every one of them.
  • We talk to your solicitor and accountant if you or they want that.
  • Our agreement is signed. We are working for you!

No two deals are the same. We have to be flexible because ultimately we are inviting you to allow us to work for you. We keep deals as simple as possible so that you can understand every word of what you will sign and so that your solicitor is also happy with the deal on your behalf.

Agreeing our sale process

So, the months have passed and the pink paper is at last to hand. How can we help you now? The whole sale process is agreed in advance as part of our negotiated agreement. We are flexible.

We manage the entire sale process on your behalf. This is agreed in detail from the outset so that we both know where we are. The possibilities are:

  • a sale by auction, or
  • a sale by tender, or
  • a sale by private treaty (rarely), or
  • we obtain a valuation for a sale from you to us, or
  • if we have worked via an option agreement, we buy you out at the option price.
We then follow the agreed process and you bank your money. At that time, we get our expenses back and our agreed payment for all our time and work. In calculating our fee, we first deduct the agreed start value of your land and then the money we have put in to obtain planning permission.

Our fee or percentage charge will also have been agreed at the outset. The most important factors for us to consider are:

  • The work we think we shall have to do: resources.
  • The money we think we shall have to put at risk.
  • Risk factors relating specifically to your land.
  • Any factors which might make it easier for us to succeed.

We prefer to discuss our fee level personally rather than trying to make rules which all the world can copy. Please be assured however, that our fees or percentage will be extremely competitive.

What is the timescale?

Getting planning permission can be a lengthy process. Delays are caused by:

  • Requirements for expert reports. These may be sensitive to the season, like ecology, or subject to physical constraints, like archaeology and contamination;
  • Delays by one or more consultees;
  • Local planning authorities’ (“LPAs”) staff unavailability due to extraordinary work loads;
  • Conditions imposed by the LPA. These could be matters of policy or specific to your land. Occasionally, we can have informal agreement, only to find that we spend another 12 weeks waiting for solicitors to finalise the terms of the infamous section 106 agreement;
  • The necessity to appeal.
  • The marketing process – from approving brochures through discussions and negotiations; through contractual issues managed by solicitors; through to final completion.

Tough reality – Rome was not built in a day

People say the planning process is slow. Yes, it is tedious and there are many swamps and hurdles. But the process is what it is. Complaining does not help. If you look at the list we have given above, you will see that it boils down to the basic issue of communication between such a large number of parties.

When we put communication tasks into a critical path analysis, if we include all our own professional team, plus several people from the council side, plus a number of consultees we must satisfy or negotiate with, plus all the people connected with ultimate sale of the site, including setting up sales brochure and any other marketing tasks specific to your land, it is immediately apparent that we shall be working with 50 other people.

We have to deploy all our skills in personality assessment to come out with just the right recipe to motivate and then “chase” each person. Most of those 50 people also believe they are doing their best to press forward fast but interruptions are inevitable. Someone’s critical input may be interrupted for a weeks holiday, but that may set the process back by two weeks. We never learn about private home issues but inevitably, days are lost here and there. One of our expert professionals may have set aside two days to investigate our site personally, but if someone fails to get the data through to her/him on time, it may take another fortnight before he/she can find a new date to visit.

All we can do is run a daily check on who we should chase and how we should do that to greatest effect. It is about awareness, empathy, tact and persistence. On top of that, we just have to make sure that no bottleneck emanates from our desk.

All in all, it is possible to obtain permission in a shorter period than 12 months. Realistically, from signing up with us, you should have your money within 18 months. If we have to appeal, the period could be 30 months. Here is a cynical view of the hurdles.

If you would like a useful summary of our services, here it is.