Applying to purchase, lease or use Council owned land/building

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If you would like to view the council’s available portfolio please visit the property availability page.

If there is an area of land or a building (“property”) that you would like to purchase, lease or require access over please complete our online application form. You will be required to upload a plan.

We are under no obligation to sell a property that you request to buy. However, we will always consider a request unless it meets one of the following criteria:

  • There are pieces of land which may appear vacant and unused but are in fact held for strategic reasons (for example, highway improvement or future housing/commercial development).
  • It is unlikely that we would be able to sell sites of strategic importance
  • Some property has covenants or other title restrictions, and this may mean we are unable to consider a disposal
  • Some land we hold is held in trust.
  • It is less likely that we could sell sites that are held in trust.
  • If an area is declared surplus and potentially also of interest to other parties, we may need to advertise the area and invite offers from any / all parties.

Costs

In submitting an application you should bear in mind that there will be a number of costs for which you would be responsible in addition to a purchase price or an annual rental if your application is successful:

  • If the area is public open space, we will need to advertise an intention to sell or lease in the local press for 2 consecutive weeks (currently, a £650 non-refundable contribution must be made prior to our submitting the advert). If objections are received we would consider them on their merits, before a decision to sell / lease is made.
  • You may require a change of use planning consent (currently, the application fee is £380). Any application would be considered on its merits by the planning department, you may wish to contact our planning department in advance of submitting an application.
  • You may need a solicitor yourself which will incur additional costs.
  • You need to be aware that there will be a minimum cost to you of £2,500 in relation to your application. Price will vary depending on your proposed use. A typical garden extension will be in the region of £5,000.

What happens once I've completed the form?

Once you have sent in your application form having attached all of the information required, we will check that we own the land.

At this point an informal consultation will begin to determine whether or not we wish to dispose of the property. This decision will be based on a number of factors and we will advise you in writing of the outcome.

If we do not wish to dispose of the property we will tell you why; if we are willing to dispose of the property we will begin the formal consultation process to make sure there are no reasons why the disposal cannot take place.

What happens if my application is refused?

If we refuse your application, we will advise you in writing.

Is there an appeals procedure?

No, but if you feel that you have additional information, or justification to support your application that has not already been considered, or if you amend your application in some way, we may be able to process your application again, based on the new information.

Consultation

The consultation may involve any or all of the following:

  • Council services
  • Local Councillors
  • Council Tax and Finance
  • Town / Community Council
  • The Planning Authority (to determine if planning permission for change of use is required)
  • Adjoining land owners
  • Residents
  • Any other interested parties
  • Legal

The consultation process can take up to 16 weeks. More complicated cases may result in a longer consultation period. We will keep you updated and will let you know if we need any further evidence from you.

Public open space

If the land is considered Public Open Space, we must advertise the intention to sell or lease in the local press for 2 consecutive weeks (you will need to make a non-refundable contribution to the cost before we place the advertisement).

If there are valid objections to the open space advert, we will consider reporting the matter to Cabinet for a decision

Marketing

If a property is declared surplus and potentially of interest to other parties, we may need to advertise it and invite competitive bids by way of advertisement on our property availability page.

We will write to you and ask you to submit your best and final offer along with any other interested parties.

Approval in principle

Subject to there being no objections raised in any of the points listed above we will prepare an “in principle” report for a decision.

Valuation

After that approval has been granted, we will require a valuation of the land. After the valuation has been completed we will contact you to agree terms for the disposal and will send you Heads of Terms.

If you wish to proceed, we will require your agreement in writing.

Approval of terms

If terms are agreed and no objections have been raised we will prepare an “approval of terms” report for a decision.

Planning

If, having consulted with our Planners, you require planning permission for change of use, you should ensure it is in place before you are legally committed to the transaction (exchange of contracts or signing a lease)

Instructing solicitors

Once approval has been granted we will instruct our solicitors. You should also instruct your solicitor.

All this seems very complicated and will take a long time. Is there no easier way?

Unfortunately no. The Council has legal obligations in the sale of land and property and other land transactions.

This document explains many things that may have to happen before a decision can be made but please bear in mind that they may not all apply to your particular application, and other issues may be brought to light during the consultation.

This will not become evident until each stage is reached, so at the outset it is not possible to predict the time it will take to reach a decision.

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