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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    Thanks for the comments.

    I'm aware of the 'unhappy bunny' neighbour - he's a solicitor and I'm keen not to annoy him!

    What's strange is that the clause is happy to allow either holiday lets or office use, which I would have thought increase the chances of noise, road traffic and strangers on site. The estate agent has explained that it isn't about the money either, just about preventing a dwelling on the site. We are hoping to talk to the vendor to find out why he is so against residential use...

    Seascape, that's an interesting point about the chances of planning consent (although I disagree that Regs have now made all houses 'eco'!). I think that we'll keep the EnerPHit bit quiet for now as it seems to have a similar effect on price to the word 'Wedding' when it comes to people selling you things.

    Wondering if anyone has an opinion on the difference between an empty plot and one with a 'character' building in terms of land value? As Halcyon Richard mentions, the existing building actually increases the cost of the building works but would (hopefully) increase the value of the finished project.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2013 edited
    Seascape, that's an interesting point about the chances of planning consent (although I disagree that Regs have now made all houses 'eco'!).

    I asked my planning officer this very question (would I be more likely to get planning permission for an eco house). Was told "No, because all houses must be sustainable these days". That was 8 years ago.
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2013 edited
    Posted By: CWatterssustainable
    For whom, themselves:
    Resurrecting this (again!) as we're about to put an offer in on a plot of land for our PassivHaus self build in the South West of England. I'd appreciate thoughts on how we might work out what to offer.


    Outline planning consent granted for 2 storey, 4 bed detached house (quite mean for a 4-bed at 96 sqm) on 300sqm plot. Agreed Scale and Massing only.
    (previous application for 2 buildings was refused so we won't be challenging this)
    Not in AONB or conservation area
    Not in floodplain or area of subsidence, radon etc. according to Env. Agency
    Completely empty site (other than some boundary walls) since 1970's demolition of old cottages
    Consented plot layout is for South West facing garden (plenty of solar gain looking at Streetview)
    Wayleaves/underground services currently unknown

    We may face some challenges on materials/appearance due to Victorian streetscape but I think we can negotiate on this - reading the case officers grounds for refusal of previous application suggests they are prepared to accept a 'contemporary interpretation' of context.

    A developer is intending to build on a larger adjacent plot but has already had 2 applications turned down due to scale and (pastiche) appearance. There's still a risk it might become overrun with Barratt boxes, but we should be relatively sheltered by the boundary wall!

    Any rules of thumb (total budget/market return * pi/ golden ratio etc.) or things to watch out for gratefully received..!
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2014
    What prices have similar plots gone for in that area?

    That's a tricky one as there haven't been that many plots sold around the area recently. I can't find the details of the adjacent larger plot either.

    According to recent land registry sold prices, the average 3-bed is worth £200-210k and the average 4-bed would be £260-280k although those prices obviously vary greatly with age and condition of the building.

    I've filled out various building cost calculators which confirm my feeling that the build cost would be in the region of £160k if it was a good spec 'standard' build, but this obviously doesn't count the 'PassivHaus factor' which will undoubtedly add cost. Even the experienced PH designers (Justin Bere, Architype etc.) tend to suggest it's at least 8% extra on a standard build...
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2014 edited
    So if the plot were on the market at £50,000 would you think it worth buying? If the answer is yes I'd bargain on the basis of the property end value, less build cost. Of course there is no profit margin factored in, so this could suggest £50k is too much, so maybe start at £35k and work up to your maximum.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014
    I agree. Calculate.. Finished Value - build cost - 20% and see how that compares with other plots. Don't forget to factor in the CIL/S106 and any special factors that might apply to that particular plot, such as high cost of getting services to it or moving underground cables/pipes ??
    • CommentAuthorfinny
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014
    The word on the ground around here is that no builder would offer more than 15 k for anything but a really special plot.. Market costs/forces
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014 edited
    £15K ! I think you forgot a zero :-)

    Edit: £15k for a site without planning permission?
    • CommentAuthorbillt
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014
    £15k sounds a fair price for a small plot in an area struck by economic hardship, like parts of Stoke on Trent, Scunthorpe or Middlesborough.

    Obviously an acre in a leafy London suburb will command a much higher price
    Three years ago we sold my dad's former workshop unit for around £30k rather than go for PP and sell for houses.

    The dimensions would have allowed three compact 3 bed terraces (plots roughly 9m wide x 20m deep each), but there was no value in building the houses as the sale price of the plots would have been only £10k each after clearance and PP.

    In that street a reasonable 3 bed terrace is about £60k.

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