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Hertfordshire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Speculative building plot sales

Friday, 19 August 2011 14:05

Plotlands Sign Braughing Plotlands Sign Braughing Tim Atcheson

Have you bought, or are you tempted to buy, a small plot of formerly agricultural land in the countryside in the hope that it may some day be granted planning permission for development? (Item updated 11 June 2015)

Do you realise that these sites are being marketed at around twenty times their value as agricultural land, without planning permission for development or even the prospect of planning permission being granted in the foreseeable future, if ever? Does it matter to you that, by buying one of these plots of land, you are contributing to the destruction of the English countryside?  Whole fields are being taken out of agricultural use, divided up into small plots using stakes and wire, and then left to grow weeds. If left unchecked, these weeds will develop into scrubland and eventually, by the process of natural succession, into low-grade woodland. Alternatively, if the unwanted vegetation is removed, usually by chemical means, the land is left looking like a desert. Very often, in order to divide the land into plots and provide access for the buyers, hedges are removed and trees chopped down, thus destroying some of the features that made the area attractive in the first place.

Our view
The land speculation companies selling the plots claim that the Government’s declared intention to see more homes built in the South East of England means that the plotland sites will eventually be developed. This is misleading. Most of the sites are in the designated Green Belt where very restrictive planning policies still apply.
Latest news (11 June 2015)
Since this article was written in 2011, many owners of 'landbanked' plots like those described above have become disillusioned. In some cases sites have returned to their natural states. Some plots have been resold to cut the original buyers' losses. We have heard of some Green Belt sites which have been bought with the intention of placing static caravans on them.  

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