West Oxfordshire District Council is warning potential buyers of land in West Oxfordshire to do proper checks before purchasing land.
Councillor Carl Rylett, Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainable Development, said, “We have been contacted by numerous people who are confused about the sale of plots of land in West Oxfordshire that are being sold with adverts saying they have future potential for development.
“While the adverts state buyers need to make their own enquiries about development of the plots, to an unsuspecting buyer that doesn’t have planning knowledge it is not very clear what would be possible on the land.
“Some of those contacting us are asking about buying land to build their own home when the likelihood of planning permission being granted is very low. Some of these plots have even had planning permission for development turned down on numerous occasions before being sold as individual plots.
“The plots often sell at what seem to be very attractive prices which are mostly so low because the land is not suitable for building homes on. If they were suitable for homes then the land would be worth far more, often up to 10 times the asking price, and would likely have been sold to developers.
“This happened a number of years ago on land at Hailey and Eynsham and we have recently received complaints regarding land that is being sold outside Church Enstone where concerns have been expressed that the land does not have planning permission, has had planning applications for development refused on multiple occasions and is not allocated in the Local Plan for development.
“There will be many reasons why people want to buy plots of land, and many of these plots will be great for different purposes, but we want people going into these purchases with their eyes open to the true potential of the land.
“We are calling out to anyone looking to purchase land for development to make sure they are fully aware of what planning is required for what they want to do and to get professional advice so they go into the purchase with the full information.
“Our planning team are happy to offer information and support so please do contact us if you are thinking of buying land or speak to another planning or development professional.
“We also call on auctioneers and those selling land to make it clearer to potential buyers about the planning history of sites, provide clearer details about who potential buyers should contact before purchasing and provide more information on the planning process and Local Plan.”