Getting the right development deal for landowners

Kirsty Barsby is a senior associate based in the York Office of Lupton Fawcett.
Kirsty Barsby is a senior associate based in the York Office of Lupton Fawcett.


The six-week consultation period on the new local plan for the Harrogate district starts next month with the intention that the new plan will be adopted by Autumn 2018.

According to evidence from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment, in excess of 11,000 homes need to be built across the district before 2035.

Landowners, developers and promoters are increasingly seeking to secure land for development. As a landowner you should consider your options if you have land which might be suitable for development.

The Lupton Fawcett Property team has noted that its landowner clients are choosing to use promotion agreements to deal with future development potential.

Under a Promotion Agreement a promoter (usually an experienced developer) obtains planning permission for development of the land and when the land is sold the promoter takes a share of the profit. This is different from an Option Agreement where the developer having obtained planning permission has the exclusive right to purchase the land at a price quite often below its open market value.

As the Promotion Agreement becomes increasingly more popular, Landowners should give careful thought to the following:

• Protection of the use, value and future development potential of any retained land if the planning permission only affects part of the landowner’s land.

• Securing a minimum land value whilst driving for maximisation of value.

• Using the land during the planning process.

• How much involvement does the landowner want in the planning process? This can be particularly important if they live nearby or will be retaining adjoining land.

• What happens if the promoter fails to fulfil its obligations in the agreement?

• Who pays “the upfront cost”?

• Will the promoter’s deductible costs be capped?

• How will the sale proceeds be split?

• Is the promoter involved in competing sites?

• How much profit should we “give away”?

Such a land transaction is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Therefore, it is important that you receive clear and decisive advice so that you can get the best outcome for you, your business and your family. Lupton Fawcett has a strong team with significant experience in transactions of this nature and can help landowners considering these options.

Kirsty Barsby is a senior associate based in the York Office of Lupton Fawcett and can be contacted at or on 01904 561 441.