Development potential of land

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    • #708903


      My parents own a farm in county Meath which would appear to have some development potential in the future. At the moment it’s far from clear when that would be and it is proving quite difficult to decide how to proceed with our plans because of it. Really, we would like to sell and move somewhere else as we are not actively farming and it has become quite problematic to manage and maintain with very poor rental returns from setting the land.

      The development potential, while obviously a positive factor and something to be grateful for, is also making it difficult to decide exactly what to do: whether to wait on longer, sell all or some of the land or try to have the land rezoned ourselves. Part of the property adjoins the current development boundary of a nearby village and I understand that a local area plan is to be drawn up inside the next two years to decide zoning. While in the past we have received relatively modest valuations, this summer out of the blue we had two approaches from people looking to buy the land at prices significantly in excess of agricultural value. All this has made us suspicious and rather confused as to what is going on. While I have talked with some auctioneers regarding the land, I can’t say I have much confidence in their judgement or ability to advise us on what to do so I was wondering if someone here might be able to recommend a planning consultant or someone who could give more reliable and independent advice on how to proceed.

      I really just want to be able to make a more informed decision and avoid selling prematurely to some speculator perhaps with inside knowledge. Perhaps I’m being a bit paranoid but there were things about these approaches which seemed a little odd and made us feel uncomfortable about proceeding with.

      Thanks in advance for any help you can give

    • #784497

      Get proper advice and recommendations.

      Try the IPI for planning references
      Try the RIAI for architectural references

      Alternatively post a tender for these services in the newspaper /web/tender sites

      Sites such as may be useful.

      The potential development value of a site depends on the development plan. Some developers purchase agricultural land (landbank) on the hope value that one day it will be rezoned to more valuable land. This is the reason why property costs so much here. It is in the value of the land not the buildings.

    • #784498

      What is the development plan that is in the near by village.
      Are you sure that your land is covered by that and not by the meath development plan. If you are covered by the meath development plan, and are currently unxoned, then you are unlucky because the meath DP is being renewed at the monent, but the inal date for submissions and observations on the draft plan was fri 8th september. If you are covered by the meath DP you might of been able to get it rezoned now and increase your vale alot. The plan will not be looked at again for about 7 years.
      On the other hand if you are covered by the nearby LAP you might not have to wait as long. What town is it. When it is being renewed I suggest that you lodge a rezoning application.

    • #784499

      Thanks for your replies.

      From my understanding of the plan there is no rezoning decided for the area in the development plan itself. The village was included in Volume II of the 2001 plan

      from page 12 of the plan.

      “As outlined above, the 2001 County Development Plan consists of three volumes, Volume I – Objectives for the County at Large, Volume II – Written Statement and Detailed Objectives for Towns and Villages inclusive of book of maps and Volume III – Conservation. In order to marry the form of the existing County Development Plan with the Planning & Development Acts 2000 – 2002, a twin-tracked approach is being adopted in this current review process. The new Draft County Development Plan will consist of a single document comprising of a revised and updated Volume I and III, whilst individual Local Area Plans for the Towns and Villages (replacing Volume II) will be prepared over the course of the next couple of years. In such instances where a local area plan (LAP) has not been prepared for a town or village (previously the subject of a town or village plan in Volume II of the 2001 County Development Plan) on adoption of the new county plan, the existing plan for the particular town or village will remain in force (i.e. will continue to operate as the statutory plan for the area) until such time as the LAP replaces it. It is intended that all such LAPs will be prepared and adopted within the immediate two years preceding the adoption of the county plan.”

      I’m making the not too wild assumption that ‘preceding’ is a mistake here as it doesn’t make much sense. Elsewhere, it states again that Local Area Plans must be prepared “within 2 years of the adoption of this County Development Plan”

      from page 14

      “The assessment of the individual land use zoning submissions in towns and villages is not subject to the Draft County Development Plan but the preparation of the individual Local Area Plans. The Draft County Development Plan will establish the strategic context in which the various Local Area Plans will be prepared.”

      The current map and objectives in the draft are unchanged from that adopted in 2001. So unless I’ve missed something, the DP itself doesn’t have any implications for zoning in the area as it’s to be covered in the LAP.

    • #784500
      Paul Clerkin

      Also sounds like the people making the offers may know something you don’t…

    • #784501

      Or they have influence that you don’t. Regardless of what the development plan says the local councillors can pass a contravention of the plan by a majority vote.

    • #784502

      Yes, the something they know that I don’t is what I’m trying not to get caught out by. If it’s a question of influence that I don’t have then I guess there’s not a lot I can do about it. I have been advised by auctioneers that ‘the builders’ can get zoning much easier that the ordinary individual because they know the right people etc.

      The thing is, it’s hard to see how it should suddenly attract such interest right now. While, like many towns and villages throughout the country there has been considerable development in the area in recent years, there are also some obvious constraints on further expansion, the roads for one thing would need a major upgrade to handle the traffic from any large scale development and there’s not a sign of that in the plan at the moment. Also the status of the village has not changed, it isn’t marked as a ‘growth centre’ or anything like that and I imagine that would happen before you’d see a village turn into a town. Can you just go expanding a village massively without flagging it in advance in the development plan?

      There is one factor which could have a major impact on the place’s suitability for development in the longer term. But all the evidence suggests that this is very much in the long term and getting longer if anything. It’s very hard to see what is driving the interest now but it certainly has the feel of something that some people have got wind of.

    • #784503

      Is there a LAP prepared now for the village in question. If not then it will still be covered by the new county development plan until a new plan is made, they hope to get them ready in the next two years, but Meath CC is under alot of work and are losing alot of staff because of this, so I would be surprised if it took longer.
      So i imagine the “inside” information the people who aproached to buy it was the fact that they are revising the county plan.

      I know you said the draft county plan had no changes from the 2001 plan, but they will have gotten alot of submissions on zoning and rezoning. I imagine the buyers wanted to buy the land and get a zoning submission into the council.
      The date for subbmissions has past (last friday), so the buyers might stop. But if the LAP is being prepared in the coming years then it will start again. If you are thinking of selling the land at all, i’d recommend trying to get it zoned in the LAP first. Will greatly increase its value.

    • #784504

      well judging by the recent census results which show suburban sprawl throughout Co. Meath compared to the consolidation espoused by the Regional Planning Guidelines and also with regard to the traffic chaos on the N2 and N3 as all these new dormitory villagers crawl to the city each morning, may i suggest not selling to a developer and not allowing your village to be transformed into another mini Blanch or Lucan or Swords etc etc…

      All the advice you’ve received is very sound in relation to what is really going on. But as far as i know it’s too late to affect the Development PLan but there’s always variations, which can happen any time. My personal feeling is that Meath has been royally rogered by successively voracious County Plans and ridiculous Local Area Plans which have rezoned all over the County in complete contravention of National Policy, so I’d rather your site remained undeveloped to be honest.

      however if I put my property owner hat on, if you’re interested in selling I’d push for a rezoning myself by variation to the new plan, which will be adopted next year and then sell on your land as zoned. You could even go as far as to secure outline planning permission for a development, thereby further increasing it’s value. However you’d always have that guilt hanging over you that you contributed to the destruction of the region and the chaos at the crossroads ™. wouldn’t you? nah, neither would I… good luck

    • #784505

      I understand what you’re saying and don’t feel too happy about the whole way the process works myself. But you can’t blame the landowner for trying to increase the value, particularly if farming is no longer viable. It’s the responsibility of the council to act in the best interests of the wider community and say no to development which might be unsuitable for the area. I’d only really feel guilty if I used political influence to overrule the arguments of the planners. If the system worked as it should, then it shouldn’t be up to people like me whether the region is ruined or not.

      It would certainly be foolish to choose not to get land zoned out of principle, then decide to sell on, only for someone else to come in and get the whole thing developed. If someone is that principled and concerned, they’d better be prepared to stay put and look after the land as well or else limit their buyers to only the most high-minded individuals in society. From looking around Ireland today, they might be a long time waiting to sell in that case 🙂

      Actually, if I did get zoning and planning, I think I’d be a lot more generous then the average developer. The way I see it, the whole thing is so profitable that it shouldn’t be a problem to make adequate provision for schools, recreational facilities etc, even if that means sacrificing land that could be turned into apartments and houses. There’s enough for everyone. Alas, people who think like that probably won’t end up getting to decide these things. Or else they just get consumed by greed once they get into that position and proceed to squeeze the very last amount of profit out of every last inch of land they own. It’s terrible to see what the whiff of sudden wealth can do to people.

      In any case, it looks like I’m probably late with this one. So I guess I’ll be spraying weeds, fixing fences and trying to prevent the disused hay barn from falling apart for a while yet 🙂

    • #784506

      great post… yeh you’re absolutely right. the people who decide on this are the county councillors so if you want more locally-informed advice i’d get onto some of them as well. I’m not 100% sure but they might be able to bring a proposed rezoning to the table outside the normal window for comment… then they debate the development plan for hours and hours and inevitably make a complete hole of the place. give it a go anyway…

      are you at liberty to let us know what village the land is near?

    • #784507

      @Tamerlane wrote:

      In any case, it looks like I’m probably late with this one. So I guess I’ll be spraying weeds, fixing fences and trying to prevent the disused hay barn from falling apart for a while yet 🙂

      A Local Area Plan can rezone land.

      You should – immediately- commission a development appraisal from a reputable Planning Consultancy.

      I would suggest that you pick a large firm with a good track record from the IPI website.

      Agree costs up front and establish exactly what they will do for you.

      They should first give you a good indication of the likelihood of a rezoning. For a separate fee they should prepare a series of submissions to the LAP.

      I would certainly take the first step if I had a reasonable amount of land adjoining the town/village.

    • #784508

      As publicrealm said the LAP can rezone land, and if one is due in the next two years then i’d try to get things sorted sooner rather than later. If possible try and find out when exactly the LAP is bing prepared. I know trim and kells are being done now, and I asked recently, on behalf of a client, when the Navan LAP was be revised and all i got was next year.
      But somebody with a good contact in the MCC might get a more exact date.

    • #784509

      @alonso wrote:

      are you at liberty to let us know what village the land is near?

      It probably doesn’t matter but I’d kinda prefer not to say exactly where it is on a public forum that anyone can read. But I’ve actually already sent one person a PM with the precise details. I think what I’ll do is just forward that message on to those who have replied in this thread so far. You might find it interesting and it might also make things a bit clearer. It probably won’t change the advice given thus far to get a good planning consultant through the IPI. That appears to be the way forward regardless. Thanks again for your contributions, it’s certainly been very helpful to find some people to discuss this with.

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