PROMOTION & ENGAGEMENT
Wallace was promoting the site through the West Lothian Local Development Plan when our 5 year housing land supply analysis identified a significant emerging shortfall in delivery. Therefore, whilst continuing to promote the site through the plan, Wallace decided to apply for planning permission. Wallace’s insight was that no matter the planning context, the application would be refused at committee due to political sensitivity. Therefore, the application was robustly packaged to allow for determination via an appeal if required. This involved a full suite of information including planning, archaeological, education engineering, landscape, transport assessments, and masterplanning.
When the application was refused at committee, Wallace was able to react quickly and submit the planning appeal. From our due diligence of the site and knowledge of constraints affecting the authority area, in particular education capacity, Wallace was able to make robust arguments at the hearing sessions called by the reporter. Furthermore, with early housing delivery being a key consideration, Wallace considered it appropriate to prepare and submit a unilateral undertaking for the S.75 planning agreement with our appeal. This allowed for a quick determination of the application and planning gain items as it avoided protracted negotiation with the Council. The appeal and S.75 were allowed by the reporter in early 2018.
Prior to determination of the appeal, Wallace set to work on the sale strategy for the site and agreed the principles with the landowners. Immediately following the appeal determination, Wallace, working with the landowners, implemented the sale strategy by appointing Savills as selling agent for the site. The site was openly marketed, receiving a number of strong consortium bids from housebuilders. Following developer interviews held with the bidding parties, a preferred bidder was selected based on the strength of their offer and certainty of delivery. The site will be sold to the consortium of housebuilders in 2019.