How safe is your view?

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Paul Addison is managing director of DevAssist, which investigates potential development issues within 75 metres of a property. Here he talks about some of the worst cases he’s seen.

Sarah and Pete thought they had found the perfect home. Along the Folkestone seafront in Kent, the flat had uninterrupted views over pebbles leading down to the sea. But when their solicitor requested an in-depth search of the area, we discovered the beautiful view would soon be ruined by the building of 1,000 flats.

Underneath the pebbles once stood an old Victorian fairground, which meant it was fair game for planning officers to give the new flats the green light. The couple decided it wasn’t the perfect flat for them, after all. No sea view meant no sale.

This case isn’t unusual as there are plenty of planning issues which could make people’s lives a nightmare.

In Redruth, Cornwall, residents were up in arms when the local council revealed it was going to build 50 houses in the middle of a field. It was a stunning area surrounded by other fields but access to and from the properties would ruin the existing residents’ peace and quiet, as well as their uninterrupted views.

Then there was a small park owned and managed by Tandridge District Council in Surrey which had been identified as suitable for housing in its local strategic housing land availability assessment. The park wasn’t safe from the council when it was looking for land to build on which is suitable and available, much to the horror of local residents who used the park and valued the shared outdoor space.

Our investigations have also flagged up properties where a patch of land has been identified as a permanent camp for travellers, in some cases right at the bottom of residential gardens. In most cases, this is the reason the home is for sale…and the reason the clients didn’t buy it.

There are still huge areas of land yet to be developed and 80% of urban properties have land that could be developed within 75 metres. Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases of a person’s life so it’s important that they are furnished with all the relevant information so that they know exactly what they’re taking on.

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