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A collaborative cross-service approach from Fisher German’s experts has produced an excellent result for a Nottinghamshire based charity as part of a development of 187 new homes in Retford.

The Hospital of the Holy and Undivided Trinity have been custodians of land and property in Retford since 1671 and have worked with Fisher German’s Senior Partner, Tim Shuldham, for more than 20 years. Upon identifying development potential on the charity’s land, Tim brought together a team of in-house experts to advise on how the charity might make the most of this opportunity.

The initial phase has now been sold to Avant Homes, who will deliver a mix of 2, 3 and 4-bedroom properties including 25% affordable housing allocation.

Tim said: “This is a fantastic example of the various stages required in taking land from initial identification of potential through to sale and development. Fisher German was able to provide advice on planning and promotion, and handle negotiations, leading to a successful sale with a quality housing developer who will bring much needed homes to the area.”

Head of Planning, Liberty Stones, said: “On identifying the opportunities for the site, we promoted it through the emerging Local Plan process over a number of years. The council subsequently withdrew the draft plan, so we amended our promotion strategy and we moved to progressing an application under the council’s housing land supply shortfall.

"While securing planning permission outside of the Local Plan for the initial phase of residential development and an area of employment development, we have continued to participate in the Local Plan process and are promoting additional land for a further residential allocation through the council’s new Local Plan.”

Following receipt of planning permission, our development team marketed the site through competitive tender, liaising with Trinity Hospital throughout the process.

Partner, Luke Brafield, said: “We have a lot of experience in the region with recent land sales in other parts of Nottinghamshire and the Midlands, so we were able to guide the charity throughout the process and advise on the best means of sale. Avant Homes have a reputation for high-quality homes and were selected for their approach to design and placemaking, as well as the commercial terms offered.

"It’s common for our planning team to remain involved in the site throughout the sale process; knowing the site extremely well by this point, they can provide the best possible advice to potential sellers on any unresolved issues. In this case, we were able to a submit reserved matters application for Avant Homes to deliver a mix of 2 to 4-bedroom homes, including 25% as affordable housing.”

Unfortunately, Bassetlaw District Council’s adopted Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charge meant the scheme would be unviable after allowing a reasonable return to Trinity Hospital for the risk and investment needed to achieve planning consent. CIL was to be levied against the site despite the draft Local Plan no longer seeking CIL on strategic sites in the area on viability grounds.

Senior Development Surveyor, Amy Bowden, explained: “The situation was all about timing. At the planning application stage, it had been demonstrated that the scheme was unviable however the Planning Committee would not approve the scheme with a lower provision of affordable housing. The sale of the land was progressing to Avant at a time when the new Local Plan was undergoing changes, including removing CIL charges on new strategic sites. As our planning team secured promotion of the site under the revised Local Plan, we were able to provide viability advice to secure CIL exemption, resulting in an appropriate return for the charity whilst retaining the provision of affordable housing on the site.”

The planning team have also secured outline consent for 15 acres of employment use with potential for roadside retail and drive thru uses. This will bring employment opportunities to the new residents and wider community.

Fisher German’s commercial team will commence marketing of the employment land later this month; anyone interested in the site can contact Ben Flint on 07770 822770 for more information.

John Marshall, Bailiff for the charity said: “The Fisher German team has been fantastic in getting us to a great result which has secured the long-term financial future of our charity”.

Tim added: “It has been a long haul from the first thoughts about the site but we are delighted with the overall result secured for Trinity Hospital. This complex planning process and marketing demonstrates the benefits of bringing in an expert team from the beginning with knowledge of the local area and various sectors to ensure the best possible outcome for the client. We have played our part in securing the long-term financial future of the charity, which has already existed for over 350 years, and that is very rewarding. This would not have been possible had we not been able to successfully secure planning permission and petitioned for the CIL exemption. Well done to all involved.”

To find out more about the services Fisher German provides in the development sector get in touch with a member of the team or read more on our website here.