Q&A: How can I interest developers in my land?

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The Independent Online

Q. I have a garden on two levels and would like to erect a new fence which will be just over two metres tall, stepping down to match the garden.

Q. I have a garden on two levels and would like to erect a new fence which will be just over two metres tall, stepping down to match the garden. I intend to build a retaining wall around the lower section to accommodate the roots of a Leylandi and raise the level to match that of the garden of the nearest house. My builder is excellent and my neighbour has no objections. However, from my neighbour's side, the height of the fence and retaining wall will be just over 2.5m because his garden also steps down. Would he (or a new neighbour) have grounds to object in the future?
CF, by e-mail

A. I would strongly recommend that you contact the planning department of your local council before you start any work, to check if what you plan to do would require planning. You may have to put your proposals in writing to get an answer. Whatever the outcome, you should give your neighbour a copy of the final plans or permission as appropriate so there can be no misunderstanding at a future date, especially important if either of you wish to sell your properties. You should also check on the title deeds of your property to see if there are any restrictions.

Q. My house stands on a large plot of land that would be suitable for building new houses. How can I best approach potential developers or builders, and should I approach more than one at the same time?
LJ, by e-mail

A. Your land will be worth a lot more if you market it with planning permission, but first you would be wise to find out if this would be granted in theory. You can apply for outline planning permission to your local council which is not as detailed as actual planning permission but will give you a good idea. You may want to ask a local surveyor to give you a valuation based on a number of scenarios to give you some idea of its value. You will have to pay for this service, so get a few quotes before going ahead. If any other properties or land in your road or nearby have been redeveloped recently, you could then contact the developer directly and ask whether he would be interested in your property. Local agents, especially those with a land and new homes division, would be more than willing to discuss the purchase and should give you a free valuation as they will make their money selling it on to a developer. However, make sure you investigate all the options before agreeing to anything. You could also consider selling the property and land at auction. Contact a local auctioneer who will be able to give you more information about the process and costs. You should also contact a solicitor as soon as you have decided what you want to do.

If you would like a query answered, e-mail: propertyq&a@independent.co.uk. Only those questions featured will be answered. Any advice given will not be legally binding