A recent article released by financial and insolvency services highlights the need for investors to be vigilant when promised land which benefits from planning consent, only to realise they have been sold a plot of worthless land with no chance of development. AAH Planning Consultants recently reviewed a site for an investor, and found that he has purchased 30 plots in an area of high flood risk and part of a wider conservation area. Such a site is unlikely to gain planning permission, and certainly should not be purchased with ‘hope’ value without having a professional Planning Consultant comprehensively review the site. The increase of these misleading sales has seen a 100 per cent increase over two years in the number of complaints about land banking scams accepted for investigation.
The article continues, ‘Since 2009, 39 companies have been wound up that caused losses of £13.4m. To date, nine directors of land banking companies have been disqualified by The Insolvency Service for a total of 86 years. It is estimated that total losses from all land banking scams exceed £200m nationwide.’
In terms of evaluating land for planning, it would be wise to engage professionals that are governed by a code of conduct, such as the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Members of this organisation are bound by a code of conduct and professionalism. At AAH Planning Consultants the consultants are chartered members, and will provide clients with a professional honest appraisal, which, according to insolvency services, is more important than ever.