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Buying some land, but not to build on - advice please

8 replies

jenniepanda · 14/08/2009 20:54

There is 2.4 acres of wooded land directly opposite ours and 6 other houses on our estate. It was bought by the developer when they built the houses but now it is up for auction. The land is used by children for playing and also for lots of dog walking. I cannot bear the thought of anything being built outside our house. I have spoken to the council planning department who said that noone has contacted them about it yet, but our neighbour has seen some people looking around it.

The guide price is only £1.5K and a couple of our neighbours have suggested we all club together and buy it. However, I am worried about the legalities of owning such a piece of land that is open to anyone to use. Does anyone have any experience of owning such a piece of land?

Thanks is advance.

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CarGirl · 14/08/2009 20:58

Hmmm I know someone who did this, his neighbours pulled out so he bought it himself!!

Presumably you can mark out the boundary and say it is private land keep out etc? Would that give you any protection if someone trespassing hurt themselve?

Can you give it to the council with a convenant to be kept as green belt on it?

CMOTdibbler · 14/08/2009 21:00

We are going through this at the moment.

As a community group we took advice from Fields in Trust and they were really helpful.

The best thing to do is to buy the land, then put it in trust with them, and make a charity of the land. That way it is very firmly protected, and you will get the advantage of being a charity for public liability insurance, rates etc.

The insurance for liability etc costs about 150 pounds a year if you are a charity

jenniepanda · 14/08/2009 21:15

CMOT - thanks for the info, that website is only talking about 'playing fields' do you know if they deal with areas of general usage to?

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CMOTdibbler · 14/08/2009 21:20

Yes - the land we are buying/putting into trust is not a playing field but an area of grass, some lightly wooded, and some heavily wooded land.

'Our' land does have some restrictive covenants on it (open access, maintenance etc), but covenants can be very easily broken so actually offer no protection at all.

Loshad · 14/08/2009 21:35

if they really only want 1.5 k for 2.4 acres definately buy it (tis super super cheap even for poor grade agricultural land - wood alone will be worth a bit if you crop it carefully). I'd then leave it open for public access but cover yourself with private land notices.

jenniepanda · 14/08/2009 21:51

CMOT - I'll get in touch with them next week - seems like the best idea at the moment. I guess we need to get all the interested neighbours together and discuss it. The aution is on 3rd Sept, ho long has it taken for all of your stuff to go through?

Loshad - We'd want to leave it all as it is now, but am worried about the public liability etc. The planning lady said that the low price probably indicated that there was no real use for it, but it's obviously only a 'guide' price.

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CMOTdibbler · 14/08/2009 22:02

It's been about 4 weeks, but theres been no real urgency as it's for sale, rather than auction. The process is very straightforward, and tbh the initial outlay is less of a problem than the ongoing maintenance costs. We are paying 6k for 4.7 acres, but will cost 1.5k a year for grass cutting/coppicing and maintaining the drainage as well as rates (but you get 80% reduction as a charity)

It'd be worth approaching the current owners to ask if as you are a community group, would they sell direct to you without going to auction, so avoiding a bidding war

jenniepanda · 14/08/2009 22:25

CMOT - that's a brilliant idea. Thanks!

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