Purchasing Council Owned Land
The council own and are responsible for land throughout the District, typically available land is usually small (often grassed) areas which are unfenced and may adjoin houses, parks, playgrounds, leisure facilities or industrial estates.
If you are looking to buy land owned by South Staffordshire Council you will need to make an application to us so that we can decide whether or not we as the landowner wish to dispose of the land. You may also need to make a separate planning application if you wish to develop the land, or change its use. The following information should help you to understand the process, but you can also contact our Commercial Services Team on the below contact details if you need further help.
How do I apply?
You will need to make a formal application to buy. This involves completing the Application to Purchase Land form and submitting it to us with a location plan of the land you wish to buy clearly outlined in red. The plan should preferably be on an Ordnance Survey Base at a scale of 1:200 or 1:2500.
Is there a fee?
A payment of £200 will be required once the application has been accepted by the Council after initial checks. You can pay by cheque1 (made payable to South Staffordshire District Council) or you can pay online. You will be notified when to make the payment once we have received the completed form and accepted you application. This fee is non-refundable (no exemptions) and covers the Council's administration costs in dealing with the application. However, if the sale is agreed, £150 of the fee will be deducted from the overall costs on completion of the sale outlined below.
Consultation - The Council will decide if it wishes to sell the area of land. We will begin internal consultation across other service areas of the Council and with your local Councillor(s). If your proposed acquisition of the land affects other land owners nearby then the Council may also consult them. This process will generally take eight to ten weeks, but for more complicated cases the consultation period may be longer.
Once we have all the responses we will write to you outlining the results of the consultation. If the Council is unable to sell the land to you the letter will contain details of the reasons as to why we are unable to proceed with the sale. If the Council wishes to proceed with the sale then the Commercial Services Team will forward proposed terms for the sale of the land to you for your consideration.
Agreeing the sale - If you are in agreement with the terms and conditions proposed by the Council then you will be asked to confirm your agreement in writing. Documentation relating to the sale will then be forwarded to the Council's Legal Team who will prepare contracts for your approval, this can be subject to planning permission being granted if necessary. You do not have to employ a solicitor to deal with the acquisition, but the Council recommends that you seek professional advice in connection with any proposed land purchase.
Purchasing cost - In addition to the purchase price of the land, you will be liable for the payment of the Council's legal costs and surveyors fees, currently estimated at £500 and any advertisement costs, currently estimated at £500. These fees will be payable upon completion of the purchase. As stated previously, £150 of the initial application fee will be deducted from these costs. You will be responsible for your own legal costs should you decide to take independent legal advice.
It is really important to understand that the Council's agreement to sell the land to you does not imply or grant planning permission to develop it, or change its use. You should make separate inquiries with the Council's Development Management Team to find out if your intended use requires planning permission (see Do I Need Planning Permission). This advice will usually require a pre-application fee and subsequent application (see Planning fees). For example you may not be able to fence off an area, include it as part of your garden, or build on it without planning consent. We strongly recommend that you do this alongside your application to purchase, as it is your responsibility to ensure that any consents that may be required are obtained. In some cases we may not accept the disposal until planning permission is granted.
Open Market Sales.
The Council is obliged by law, under the Local Government Act 1972, to sell land for the best price reasonably obtainable. This means that in some cases if, following consultation, it is considered 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 a case 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. It may be possible in some cases to agree to a legally binding independent valuation so that the Council can sell the land directly to the applicant but the applicant will be responsible for the costs related to the valuation. Please note that your fee will not be refundable in such cases.
Public Open Space.
If the land you wish to purchase is held by the Council as Public Open Space, Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires the Council to advertise the disposal of Public Open Space in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks and to consider any objections received. You will be responsible for the cost of advertising and will be given an estimate of the likely cost at the time. If we receive any objections to the disposal they will have to be considered before a decision is made. Please be aware that should the objections be upheld the costs are not refundable.
We maintain a register of applications, in order to update applicants should an area become available in future and throughout the disposal procedure. To maintain this register, we collect and use personal information about you. For more information about how we process this data, please see our Data Protection page.
For more information please contact: Commercial Services Team on 01902 696117 or email CommercialDevelopment@sstaffs.gov.uk .
1If paying by cheque, please enclose with your application. It will not be presented unless we proceed with the application.