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9 August 2017

De-risking speculation

Land speculation is, by nature, a risky business.  If an investor were to buy a parcel of land (current value £30k) for £300k and thereafter sought planning permission to build a number of houses, the investor is speculating that if planning is granted, the £300k would prove to be money well spent. If on the other hand, planning is refused, the investor faces a hefty loss. Or so you might think. But so one sided is our planning system that the developer can pursue the planning authority for their speculative losses by issuing something called a Purchase Notice. De-risking speculation by any other name.

By Scottish Government

A land owner or lessee can serve a purchase notice on a local authority requiring them to purchase land where planning permission has been refused or granted conditionally and other specified circumstances and where the land is incapable of reasonably beneficial use.

If the planning authority disagrees with the notice, it is referred to the Scottish Ministers. A DPEA reporter will be appointed to hear representations about the notice and will make a report and recommendations to Ministers who will decide whether or not to confirm the notice.

Scottish Ministers may:

•             confirm the notice

•             grant planning permission

•             vary the conditions

•             cancel the order revoking planning permission

•             revoke or amend a discontinuance order or one requiring the alteration or removal of buildings or works

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