Based in Oxfordshire, we have over 60 years of experience in securing sites and preparing planning applictions for our own land and on behalf of other landowners in the U.K.
We use our expert knowledge and our team of skilled consultants to help landowners gain planning on their land. We handle and fund the entire planning process, and where required promote the site within the local development framework.
We work with the landowner to secure a planning approval that maximises the value of their land, and then sell on the open market to developers and house-builders for the best price.
We also buy land that has planning potential, allowing you to retain an interest in any increase in the land value that we achieve.
We understand that every landowner is unique and has different needs and circumstances. Very often there are joint owners and families involved, and like any partnership, good communication is important. We are a friendly and professional company to work with, and we are very sensitive to each landowner's particular requirements.
As a landowner, you only get to sell your land once. It is therefore vital that we help you achieve the maximum value by identifying the most suitable development use and most appropriate developers. We use our experience and expertise to make the land planning and selling process clear, transparent and straight forward.
If you wish to walk away from the process, we also buy land ourselves. We are happy to help with your land whether you own one acre or one hundred.
Andrew joined the company in 1986 as Finance Manager. He became involved with the property development team, acquiring sites and dealing with the planning process. For the last five years he has been helping other landowners to promote their sites and gain planning permissions.
Kate is a graduate of Warwick University and worked as a commercial estate agent and negotiator for 6 years before joining SGJ in 1989. She is a director of the business and oversees the negotiations with the relevant parties.
Martyn has been responsible for our site assessment and management since joining the company in 2006. After graduating from Manchester University he worked in industry for more than a decade before becoming involved in commercial property.
Stanley still keeps an active role in the business he started even though he keeps telling us he has retired! He has a wealth of experience in land and property development since he started his motor and property business back in the 1950s.
Natasha has a keen eye for identifying property and land, and proactively seeks new sites around the country and liases with the owners. She also helps market existing sites to potential buyers.
Planning Options - There are a number of different routes available to a landowner in order to get planning for residential use on their land. If they have the time, money and determination they can pay for and manage it themselves; alternatively they can find a house-builder to do it for them, or they can find a promoter such as SGJ to fund and manage the planning and selling process.
Costs - In a standard Land Promotion agreement the promoter will use their own resources, funds and expertise to pay for and manage the entire planning process within a given time-period. This can cost anywhere from £50,000 to £250,000+ depending on the size, nature and complexity of the site. These costs are only repaid if planning is gained, otherwise the promoter pays.
Option Agreement - For larger sites, it may be possible to have an Option agreement with a house-builder. This gives the builder a right to buy the land, once it has obtained planning, for a price based on the value of the land with planning permission, but discounted against true open market value. For the landowner there is the opportunity to receive some money up front in return for a promotion commitment from the builder. SGJ can help and has contacts with most of the UK’s largest house-builders including Barratt Homes, David Wilson, Berkeley Homes, Cala Homes, McCarthy & Stone, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon.
Consultants - Any planning application will involve the use of consultants and experts in many different disciplines including: planning, architecture, highways, master-planning, archaeological, landscaping, ecology, topology, flooding, soil, contamination, trees, legal and also accountants for tax-planning. It will also be necessary to deal with the local Parish Council and the regional District Council.
SGJ Limited - We have over sixty years’ experience in dealing with the planning process, which has become ever more complex, expensive and time-consuming. SGJ is self-funded and uses its own expertise, resources, money and list of specialised consultants to help a landowner achieve the best planning on their land; in return we receive a share of the proceeds in any successful sale.
We are a fully independent, family owned and run, land promotion company. We specialise in identifying potential development land and promoting these sites for the landowner to achieve planning. We have over 60 years experience of preparing and submitting planning applications and selling land to housing developers.
A Land Promotion Agreement is a legal document whereby the land promoter, SGJ, applies for planning permission on behalf of the landowner. SGJ will manage the entire process and pay for all the required surveys (e.g. Highways, Ecology, Topographical), design, planning and application costs, at no risk to the landowner. Should the application be successful the proceeds of the sale of the land are split with the majority going to the landowner.
There are many different factors that can affect development potential. Location, size and the nature of the surrounding area is obviously important. The Local Council and Neighbourhood Development Plans and enviromental features such as Green Belt, AONB and Flood Zones can have a major impact on land values. SGJ can advise you about your land without cost or obligation.
Land values can vary from £250,000 per acre to over £1.5m per acre depending on location, suitability and potential development use. For any given site, space needs to be provided for amenities, infrastructure and open-spaces; the result of this means that not all of a site will attract these prices.
The planning application process has many components. The site is assessed as to its suitablility for appropriate development - residential, retirement, affordable, local needs, commercial or a mix of these. Ecologists, Highways, Topographical, Arboricultural and Archaeological surveys may all be required. SGJ works with Architects, Masterplanners, Planning Consultants, local Parish Councils and District Councils to create the most suitable scheme with the highest chance of success.
At least a year and normally nearer two. Whilst we pride ourselves with a friendly, efficient service, planning is not a quick process! A planning application takes a minimum of 3 months to prepare properly, and with many professionals to liaise with it can take longer. Once an application has been submitted, the council has up to 13 weeks to reply and this process may take longer if revisions are required, or if an appeal is required. Once planning has been obtained a sale usually takes at least a further 6 months to market and complete.
The costs of achieving planning can vary between £50,000 to £250,000 or more depending on the size and complexity of the site. A typical residential site of 5 acres can cost a developer between £100,000 and £150,000. SGJ provides its own services for free and uses its own funds to pay for the planning process and application. The direct costs of the application are deducted from any subsequent sale, and the proceeds shared with the landowner who normally retains 75%.
Undoubtedly, yes. In addition to the large application planning costs it can cost several million pounds to build houses and the associated infrastructure (roads, utilities, drainage, etc). In addition there are Local Authority costs such as Section 106 Payments, the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and Highway Improvements. It is an expensive business, that is why it is best to use a well funded promotor such as SGJ to pay for the application and secure a sale to a housebuilder.
We would welcome the chance to speak to you confidentially about your land and give you our thoughts on its potential. We deal with land all over the south of England, from Devon to Kent, and especially around our home county of Oxfordshire. Some land promoters will only deal with sites of ten acres or more but we are happy to talk to you if you only have one acre - maybe even less. Phone our office on 01869-244774 and speak to Andrew.
You only get one chance to sell your land and so it is best to let the experts help to maximise the value. SGJ hires the best consultants and are not reliant on an in-house team. We pride ourselves on being efficient, tenacious and communicative. SGJ will take all the risk, do all the work and pay all the fees. If you do not have the knowledge, funding, or the appetite for risk, then it makes sense to enlist the help of SGJ to maximise your opportunity. As a partner with a share in the final sale proceeds it is in our interests to minimise the risk and maximise the potential, in the shortest time possible.
SGJ uses its own funds to manage and pay for all aspects of the planning process and application. Working as a partner with the landowner it takes a share of the proceeds at the end of the successful sale of the land. Whilst most land promoters charge 30% plus VAT to the landowner, SGJ returns 75% to the landowner. We also help advise on any VAT and Tax issues, and pay the Landowner's reasonable legal expenses.
The UK desperately needs to build more new homes and there is a growing appetite by the large house builders to secure land for future residential developments. Emerging Local Plans are therefore looking more favourably on designating land for development. Local Councils are increasingly putting out "Calls for Sites" whereby Landowners as asked to express their willingness for their land to be developed as part of a Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government's planning policies and how they should be applied by local councils. It is a key part of the Government's reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible. The Framework acts as guidance for local planning authorities and decision-takers, both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications.
Every Local Authority in England is required to demonstrate that they have enough land for house building over the next 5 years. This requires first working out how many new houses will be required over the next 5 years, and then calculating how many houses will actually be built, based on houses currently being built and planning applications granted. Councils are inclined to be optimistic in their figures, but where this is below 5 years, planning can be harder to refuse.
Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of a Neighbourhood Development Plan. The NDP can set out policies and plans like a Development Plan Document but on a very local scale. Subject to conforming to national policies, as well as local plan policies for the area, and gaining support through a referendum of the local area, this plan will be adopted as a formal part of the development plan. This means that planning decisions have to be made in accordance with the neighbourhood plan (and other parts of the development plan) unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
Of course, other land promoters are available. Check how many projects they are working on, though. SGJ take on only a few projects at any one time, so that we can give our fullest attention to our current sites. Many promoters also have a development side of their business, which can be a conflict of interest, or they are aligned to just one or two house builders, effectively handing your site over to them. Most land promoters also charge 30% plus VAT, after expenses.
In some cases, yes. With larger plots of land, an option fee can normally be agreed with a house-builder. On smaller sites SGJ may pay a nominal upfront fee as a show of our commitment.
In an Option Agreement, the landowner enters into a formal agreement directly with a house-builder. The builder pays an upfront Option Fee in return for the right to buy the land at a specified time in the future, at a price based on the value of the land once planning permission has been successfully obtained. If planning is not obtained then the land owner keeps the option fee and retains the title to their land.
For larger sites there are advantages to having a large reputable builder already on board to help with the planning process, where the costs for planning can easily run away. There is also the opportunity to receive some money up front in return for a promotion commitment from the builder. On the downside it can be a slow process relying upon a large, busy house builder to handle the planning, all their costs will eventually be taken off from the sale proceeds, and they will be buying the land at an agreed discounted price to the ‘open market value’ which is usually a good deal lower than the true open market value. SGJ can advise on this and has contacts with the land directors at most of the large UK house builders.
Any agreement must be carefully structured to ensure the most advantageous tax treatment for both parties. Invariably with large sums involved we always recommend the landowner seeks their own tax advice. There are situations where the sale of land is viewed by HMRC as free from CGT, such as where the land is part of the existing main residence. We can help recommend a good, specialist tax advisor familiar with such issues. Entrepreneurs Relief and Inheritance Tax are other potential considerations.
Land is normally exempt from VAT, which means that VAT is not charged on the sale of land. However VAT can not be recovered on the costs incurred in promoting and selling the land. A land owner can "Opt to Tax" their land for VAT. This enables the land owner to reclaim VAT on any expenses incurred. VAT is then charged on the sale of the land, which is not an issue when dealing with a VAT registered builder. However be aware that some house-builders do not like land where it has been elected for VAT as this can affect the cost of stamp duty.
In a sign of just how slow the planning process has become, SGJ have applied to the Planning Inspectorate to approve a minor development of houses in a large service village that has amenities, shops and bus services.
Kate - 27th June 2022
SGJ has is preparing two Permission in Principle applications on interesting sites, one local to Bicester and another on the Cherwell/Cotswolds border.
Kate - 13th June 2022
On a rural site close to Oxford, SGJ are in negotiations with a housing association to bring forward approx. 15 acres of land for affordable housing for Oxford's key workers.
Martyn - 30th May 2022