Can I be sure land by our new house will never be built on?

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

then as­sess the chances of it hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.

Ask the so­lic­i­tor who is deal­ing with your con­veyanc­ing to carry out a plan­ning search of the field. You can even do this your­self but it will in­volve an el­e­ment of re­search and quite pos­si­ble a trip to the lo­cal plan­ning de­part­ment. This will re­veal whether any plan­ning per­mis­sions have been submitted and if they were passed or re­jected. The search will also give the cur­rent des­ig­na­tion of the land. For ex­am­ple, if it is zoned for res­i­den­tial then I’m afraid it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore it is brought for­ward and devel­oped. How­ever, land clas­si­fied as “com­mon land” or a “vil­lage green” is un­likely to be granted plan­ning per­mis­sion.

It is also worth hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with the lo­cal devel­op­ment con­trol of­fi­cer who may be able to give you some back­ground on the land and give an in­di­ca­tion as to whether the des­ig­na­tion of the land will change in the fu­ture or if they have re­ceived lob­by­ing for the change of use.

There are many dif­fer­ent schemes which see third-party providers add so­lar pan­els to homes, but they all usu­ally re­volve around the use of feed-in tar­iffs. Th­ese were in­tro­duced in 2010 and are reg­u­lated by Ofgem who reg­u­late and set the tar­iffs. How­ever, changes to feed in tar­iffs have meant that in­stal­la­tion is not quite as lu­cra­tive an in­vest­ment as it once was.

Gen­er­ally the en­ergy gen­er­ated dur­ing day­light hours is not stored so any sur­plus to re­quire­ments is then sold back to the elec­tric­ity com­pany at an in­flated rate. There is a mis­con­cep­tion that peo­ple who have so­lar pan­els do not have to pay elec­tric­ity bills. How­ever, if your con­sump­tion is greater than that gen­er­ated, or you are us­ing en­ergy when the pan­els are not op­er­at­ing, such as at night, then en­ergy will be taken from the main elec­tric­ity grid and it has to be paid for in the usual way.

Although th­ese com­pa­nies of­ten in­stall the tech­nol­ogy free of charge, they re­quire own­ers to lease the airspace above the roof of the home. Agree­ments tend to be for 25 years and whilst they will take care of in­surance and any main­te­nance they may also have right of en­try to your prop­erty to carry out the work. This needs to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when you come to sell your prop­erty, as the new own­ers will need to ac­cept their terms also.

Fi­nally, while it is un­likely that plan­ning per­mis­sion will be re­quired (un­less the prop­erty is listed or you live in a con­ser­va­tion area etc.); build­ing reg­u­la­tions ap­proval may be needed.

Jonathon Wingfield is MDof Acan­thus WSM Ar­chi­tect, Leeds, www.acan­

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