Assessing Development Risk

DevAssist offers in-depth development risk reports for property purchases. With nearly one-third of DevAssist’s reports identifying properties as having a high risk of development, is it time for more conveyancers to be offering information that identifies and analyses the risk to protect clients’ investments?

We spoke to Paul Addison, Managing Director of DevAssist to find out.

  • What’s the difference between normal planning reports and a DevAssess Report?

Has a client fallen in love with a view, an area or a neighbourhood?  It is not protected, and neither is the conveyancer managing the transaction.

A planning report can help identify any applications nearby which might impact the value or future enjoyment of the purchaser’s new home.  However, the challenge is that a planning report is just raw data.  It’s simply a data scrape of planning applications contained in a long and complex report, much of which is irrelevant, making the information very difficult to interpret.

It’s a bit like having an ECG on your heart and the doctor hands you the printout and says:- “Take that home”’.  You’d much rather have the information analysed, explained and put into context by experts who understands the implications of the data wouldn’t you? At DevAssist this is what we do.  My background is in development, and I spent 30 years acquiring land and running house building projects.  Alongside my experienced colleagues, we are able to produce accessible, concise, evidence-based reports on our findings.

The key point is relevance.  Clients don’t need to know about a planning application for a conservatory five doors down!  However, they do need to know about a potential housing development in a nearby field, even if that could be several years away.  We work to extract all the relevant information and prepare an easy-to-digest report, which can be passed on to the client, so that they can make an informed decision on their property purchase.

  • Why is consideration of SHLAA so important?

We are the only company to investigate Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments (SHLAA).  These are applications or developments registered with a council showing a landowner is ‘willing’ to put their land forward for development.  Put simply, they show intent. Of course, they may come back as undeliverable, then only be put forward again in the next SHLAA cycle. Therefore, it is key information for a potential property purchaser to be made aware of.  SHLAAs are not reported in standard conveyancing searches or planning data reports, however, they are included in our reports.

  • What else is included in a DevAssess Report?

Our low cost, basic DevAssess report includes both planning data and SHLAAs risk within a 75-metre radius from the centre of a property.  It includes planning data (interpreted and included), identification of relevant historic planning applications, explanation of Local Plan Policy, identification of potential future development sites, identification of land allocated for development, identification of development potential of the property and OS Mapping identifying potential development site.

Our DevAssess Premium report establishes the development risk on a 75-metre distance from the boundaries of the property.   In addition to the content of the basic DevAssess report, it includes relevant planning history of the property, explanation of emerging and adopted Local Plan Policy, detailed study of the SHLAA sites currently being considered for future allocation, study of current and potential gypsy / traveller sites, a search for changes to nearby infrastructure and aerial photography.

  • Why Offer DevAssist?

Conveyancers looking to provide the highest quality of service for their clients and to eliminate development risk are offering DevAssist reports as a matter of course.

As well as affording a point of differentiation for client care, DevAssess reports also de-risk professional indemnity insurance for conveyancers.  A DevAssess report shows due diligence through an audit trail and demonstrates that the correct guidance was provided.

For clients it’s a bit like buying a new car.  If they spend £10K on a vehicle, it is likely they will get all the AA checks completed.  For a house purchase, its often the most important checks which are overlooked, and these include checks which could indicate loss of value or enjoyment due to a planning application. These days, any property is an expensive investment and for a low cost, a DevAssess report identifies any risk of development ensuring a potential planning application will not impact on its future value.

With UK development targets for housing set at 300,000 new properties each year until 2025, it is more important than ever to protect clients from the increased risk of development.

DevAssist’s reports are available through poweredbypie.  For more information on any part of the DevAssist product range, contact your Account Manager, or, if you are  not already benefiting from working with poweredbypie contact [email protected]


This article was submitted to be published by poweredbypie as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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