Agricultural Land for Planning

Danield Jackson, Town Planner, Sheldon Bosley

As part of my role as a Town Planner, I am often asked to look at land on behalf of our agricultural clients to assess the short and longer term planning prospects of the land for residential development.

I was talking to a colleague recently about crop prices and we calculated that in order to make as much money from selling corn as a housing scheme, could take as long as 250,000 years! Suffice to say that obtaining planning consent can be a very valuable enterprise and simply obtaining that piece of paper can dramatically improve the value of a piece of land.

So, why now?  You’ll have seen in the national press, different initiatives being proposed all the time and just driving around you can see new developments popping up all over the place. It is clear the government are keen to use housebuilding as a mechanism with which to stimulate wider growth in the UK economy and provide more homes, particularly to first time buyers. In the absence of an adopted local Plan and 5 year housing land supply, Councils should not refuse applications for new residential development unless “clear and demonstrable harm will be caused as a result.”

Locally, Warwick and Stratford Districts are working very hard to produce a government approved Plan. However, in addition to their own requirements, they also need to account for some of the overspill from Coventry and Birmingham who are unable to find enough housing land within their own boundaries. As such, there is an opportunity now, which hasn’t existed previously, and may not last very long, to win planning consents which would ordinarily be refused.

So, what type of land is suitable?  As part of the national push for building, the buzz word that is often used in planning circles is ‘sustainability’ and avoiding the need, where possible, for people to rely on their cars in order to access local services.  Therefore, land on the edges of towns and villages with access to things like a shop, school, pub and other wider public transport links are the preferred locations for large scale new development.

Here at Sheldon Bosley we currently have over 60 sites on various development agreements on behalf of our clients. So, if you have any land you think has development potential, please come in and speak to us and we will be delighted to talk you through the process and advise on how to unlock the value.

Remember, you can only sell your land once and they’re not making any more of it so it is important to agree the right deal at the right time!

Daniel Jackson is Associate Partner and Town Planner based in our Stratford-upon-Avon office. He can be contacted on 01789 292310 or email him on