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Council owned amenity land - purchase enquiries

These particulars are a general outline only, for the guidance of applicants and do not constitute an offer or contract.

Application to purchase Council owned amenity land (e.g. green space land on council housing estates)

Approaches from private individuals to buy Council owned amenity land to benefit their existing residential property will be considered where:

  • there is a broader community benefit to the disposal e.g. a rationalisation of small parcels of back-land open space, either rarely used or often misused; or
  • there are management/financial issues for the Council e.g. the land is costly to maintain; or
  • the applicant has extenuating circumstances e.g. there are health grounds in relation to the applicant and/or their family and the sale of the land would improve their quality of life and would not adversely affect the quality of life of others in the neighbourhood – (the applicant will need to provide evidence to support and justify the application to purchase).

If you are interested in purchasing Council owned amenity land, please read the following procedure before making your application.

If you wish to confirm whether a particular property or area of land is owned by the Council, please Contact Customer Services

Please check the Council's fees and charges schedule for the applicable fee (see requests for small land purchases).

If you need assistance to complete your application, please contact Customer Services on 01322 343434 or NGT Relay.

How to apply

You can either complete an application form PDF, 113.78 KB or write to the Council.  If you  are unable to make your application in writing, please contact Customer Services (see above contact details).  Your application must be accompanied by a sketch plan identifying the area of land you wish to purchase.  Please detail as much information as possible, including the approximate dimensions of the land.

On receipt of your application, the Council will decide if it wishes to dispose of or keep the land/property you have requested to purchase.  This involves an internal process of consultation with Council Officers before a decision is made and before any negotiations can take place.  If at this stage, a decision is taken not to sell you the land/property, you will be notified in writing, with reasons.

If, following the initial internal consultation stage, the matter goes forward to the next stage, the consultant valuer will ask you to pay a non-refundable fee (please check the Council's fees and charges schedule for the applicable fee -  requests for small land purchases) before he/she can start any work on your application.  Your application will not be progressed, until the consultant valuer's fees have been paid.

Address your application to: Head of Legal Services, Dartford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent DA 1 1DR

Or

Enter your application Online

Procedure for amenity land disposal

Is it Council owned land? - Before applying to purchase land in accordance with section 10 below, please check that the land is owned by the Council. You can do this Online by contacting Customer Services

Sale price

The Council is obliged by law to obtain the best price for any property, or parcel of land, which it sells.

The sale price is dependent on a number of factors.  The price will be negotiated through the Council's consultant valuer.  You may seek your own independent advice.  If you do so, please let us have the contact details of your appointed agent.

Even if one or more of the criteria in section 1 above apply, there may be other restrictions imposed on the land (such as restrictive covenants or planning policies) which result in the Council making a decision not to sell.

Where open space land is concerned, it may also be necessary for the proposals to be advertised and any objections considered.

Before any sale is approved, the Council's strategic priorities and planning policies will be considered and a recommendation to proceed will only be made if the sale has no adverse impact on the Council's priorities, policies etc.

Fees and other charges

Following the initial internal consultation process, should your application progress to the next stage, before we can start work on your application, you will need to pay the consultant valuer's fee to offset the costs in processing your application e.g. inspection of the site, consideration of any restrictive covenants, Council policies and historical background, valuation of the site and production of a report.

Payment of the fee will not guarantee that your application is approved.

If the consultant valuer agrees to the disposal and you wish to proceed, you will need to pay the Council's legal fees in advance of any legal work on your application.

As fees are reviewed on 1st April each year, please check the Council's fees and charges schedule for the applicable fee (see requests for small land purchases) or contact Customer Services on 01322 343434 or by using our Online form

Any costs associated with making an application to the Secretary of State for consent and where applicable, advertisement costs, may be charged to you.

Fees and other costs must be paid in advance and are non – refundable.  If the sale proceeds, on the completion date, you will also have to pay the agreed purchase price.

There are no exemptions to the payment of fees and ancillary costs.  You will be provided with an invoice detailing the payment method. Open market sale - The Council is obliged by law to sell land for the best price reasonably obtainable.  This means that in some cases if the consultant valuer considers that the land you have asked to purchase could be of interest to other parties or could be sold for development land, the Council must advertise it for sale on the open market.  In such circumstances, you will be sent sales details once prepared and will be able to make an offer for the land along with any other interested party.  Costs will be recovered from the eventual purchaser.

Right to buy, rules - The Right to buy, rules only apply to Council house tenants who wish to purchase their Council house. These rules cannot be used to purchase additional parcels of land.

Legal advice - The Council's Legal Services cannot provide you with legal advice.  We advise you to seek independent legal advice on your proposals.  If you do so, please let us have your legal adviser's contact details. If you appoint a legal adviser, we will then deal with them direct. You are responsible for your legal adviser's fees.

Planning, building regulations and restrictive covenants

Planning consent may be required for change of use or development of the land, or for other matters such as fencing and boundary treatment.   It is likely that land not previously used for garden purposes, building extensions or parking etc. will need planning consent for a change of use. You are responsible for finding out if planning consent is required and you should make your own enquiries about this aspect of your proposals with Development Control, by contacting Planning Admin on 01322 343434 or by Contacting our Planning Admin team

It is your responsibility to ensure that any consents required are obtained at your cost.  Should you submit a planning application to include the Council's land, you must serve the appropriate notice addressed to Valuation Services, Dartford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent DA1 1DR.  Please note that the Council's role as land owner is different to that of its role as local planning authority. Therefore, although you may be granted planning consent, this does not guarantee that your application to purchase Council owned land will be approved by the Council (as landowner).

When carrying out work on buildings, there are two issues that need to be considered - whether planning permission is required and whether building regulations consent is required.  Work on buildings requiring building regulations consent may also require planning permission. Similarly, applications requiring planning permission may also require building regulations consent.  You can check whether building regulation consent is required by contacting Building Control Admin on 01322 343434 or by Contacting the Building Admin team

Any decision by the Council to sell the land to you is separate from any decision by the Council on your planning or full plan or building notice application. You must not assume that planning permission or building regulations consent will be granted automatically if for example you are intending to change the use of the land.  It is your responsibility to check the planning status of the land and building regulations.

Planning and building control regulation fees are payable by you and are in addition to the Council's consultant valuer's and Legal Services fees and other applicable costs charged under this procedure.

We will disclose any restrictive covenants relating to the land you wish to purchase.

Vehicular access - If you are proposing to access the land across the highway, please consult Kent County Council Highways www.kent.gov.uk

Consultant valuer's decision

Providing your application meets the criteria referred to in section 1 above and the consultant valuer's fees are paid in advance, within three months of receipt of the consultant valuer's fee, the consultant valuer will:

(a)        undertake any due diligence checks, inspect the site and value the land;

(b)        write to you or your appointed agent, confirming whether the disposal is approved; and

(c)        if approved, detail the terms for the disposal of the land and the price payable.

If the timescale cannot be met, the consultant valuer will notify you.

If the disposal is approved by the consultant valuer, it is for you to form a view on any restrictive covenants, the planning/building regulations position and the suitability of the land for your intended purposes. You proceed at your own risk.

If the disposal is not approved by the consultant valuer, you will be notified of the decision in writing with reasons.

Land transfer process

Your acceptance of the consultant valuer's terms and price payable for the land need to be confirmed in writing, addressed to the Head of Legal Services with payment in advance, of the Council's legal fees (see the Council's fees and charges schedule - sale of small parcels of Council owned land) . The land transfer process will not be started, until the legal fees are paid.  The Council's legal fees are in addition to any fees your solicitor may ask you to pay.  Your solicitor's fees are your responsibility.

The transfer documentation will be prepared by the Council's Legal Services.  Providing you have paid the Council's legal fees, the date for completion of the sale will vary depending upon the complexity of the matter and the type of searches and enquiries that are made by you or on your behalf but the process may take up to approximately 3 months from the date you notify the Council in writing, that you accept the terms and price to be paid for the land.  If we require longer to process the transfer documentation, we will notify you.

Generally, the sale of the land is completed with no prior contract or deposit payment.  You will pay the purchase price on completion.

Completion of the sale of the land ends the Council's involvement in the process. You will however need to deal with land registry registration and SDLT (stamp duty land tax) post completion.

Complaints

There is no appeals procedure against a decision to refuse to sell you the land.  However, if you feel that you have additional information, or justification to support your application that has not already been considered, or if you amend your application in some way, we may be able to process your application again, based on the new information.  Please note that we reserve the right to charge further fees.

If you consider that the Council has not followed its procedures, you may raise a complaint through the Council's Corporate Complaints Procedure. If you remain dissatisfied with the response, you may complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Read our policy PDF, 313.15 KB on the disposal of Council owned land.

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