Sutton Coldfield green belt targeted by no win no fee developers
Area B.West of M6 Toll, North of Falcom Lodge, Whitehouse Common
28th August 2013
Paul Dale, Chamberlain Files
Company bids to build 2,000 homes for 'modest percentage' of future sales.
Developers who describe their method of working as gaining planning permission on a ‘no win no fee’ basis want to build 2,000 homes in the Sutton Coldfield green belt.
Richborough Estates has targeted an as yet unidentified parcel of land to the north-east of Sutton and hopes to win planning permission from Birmingham City Council.
The firm has told the landowner that it will conduct the planning and sales process in return for “a modest percentage” of future house sales.
The proposal is certain to prove highly controversial in a town that fears its countryside is about to be sacrificed to meet an acute housing shortage in Birmingham.
In an early shot across the bows, Richborough said it would be guided by a green belt review being undertaken by the city council as part of a search for land to build 30,000 new homes on green-field and green belt land outside of the Birmingham city boundary.
In a statement, the company said: “Richborough Estates are promoting land on the edge of Sutton Coldfield for up to 2,000 dwellings alongside employment, leisure and education uses.
“Birmingham City Council is currently undertaking a green belt review and we will continue to promote the site through the plan process.
“We believe that the unique socio-economic benefits and the commitment to deliver a very high quality development would provide significant benefits to the city. Further details will be provided in due course.”
With offices in Waterloo Street, Birmingham, and Congleton in Cheshire, Richborough is a fast-growing privately owned company specialising in identifying difficult to develop sites. It is currently pursuing an application to build 120 houses on green belt land at Water Orton, Warwickshire.
The company’s website states: “Richborough Estates is a growing private business which was founded in 2003 with the aim of helping landowners maximise their land assets on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.
“In other words, we source land opportunities and carry out the entire planning and sales processes at our own cost in return for a modest percentage of the onward sale. This relationship ensures that we are working in partnership with landowners and share common goals.
“A typical project will involve the promotion of 150-250 dwellings on a greenfield or brownfield site during a period of 2-5 years. However, we are also managing much larger urban extensions in the green belt which involve planning, delivery and disposal over the longer-term.
“During these projects we consider major infrastructure needs such as new schools, civic buildings and road networks and of course the socio and economic benefits that housing brings.”
Birmingham City Council is expected to publish a draft development plan later this year setting out proposals for 80,000 new homes over the next 15 years.
Council leader Sir Albert Bore has warned that Birmingham has sufficient developable land for about 50,000 homes, leaving 30,000 to be built outside of the city boundary. It is thought that as many as 10,000 of the homes could be built on the Sutton green belt.
Moment of truth for the Sutton Coldfield green belt
Calls for Birmingham City Council to review housing levels as green belt targeted for new homes
Council targets green belt homes while thousands of houses stand empty across Birmingham
Sutton Coldfield Rural Campaign challenges Council’s housing projections
A38 commuter route puts Birmingham Local Plan in reverse
UP to 10,000 new homes and industrial zone could be built on Sutton Coldfield's green belt