Sara is a property lawyer with a specialist land development practice. She specialises in advising developers, investors and landowners in the acquisition and sale of development land, strategic site assembly, joint ventures, Options, associated planning and adoption matters, Development Agreements, provision of affordable housing, and legal project management issues from site inception to completion of the end product for sale.
Sara’s development clients range from national house builders to small family-owned local developers.
Examples of recent work in this area includes:
- acting for a national house builder in the acquisition of a £30m+ development site for residential development including negotiation of overage provisions and associated security for these
- acting for a national house builder on the acquisition of a £10m site for residential development in phases, including deferred payment terms and security
- acting for a developer on the acquisition of a development site with the potential for a further phase of development beyond. Negotiating development obligations for the provision of access and service connectivity for the prospective future development beyond
- acting on a major acquisition for an independent developer and in the secured financing of the acquisition and development. Negotiating a Deed of Agreement with an adjoining owner to facilitate the development. Advising on complex legal issues arising in relation to access, bridleways and entries on the title
- acting on the purchase of an existing school site from a county council, for redevelopment, facilitating the build of a brand new school next door
- acting for a small local developer in the purchase of a site with planning for change of use and redevelopment from mixed-use to residential. Resolving title issues, securing indemnity insurance, advising on party wall issues, and acting on secured lending
- acting on the sale on of a substantial phase of a major development, for a national house builder including negotiating deferred payment terms, security arrangements, and development obligations concerning the delivery of shared infrastructure
- acting on the sale of residential phases out of a major new-town, reserving necessary rights, easements and covenants, and dealing with complex replies to enquiries
- acting for sellers of agricultural land with potential for redevelopment all subject to planning, negotiating overage provisions, promotion of land provisions, and advising in the context of international tax regimes, with advice from a tax adviser in a foreign jurisdiction
- acting on the sale of land for a consortium of developers, for redevelopment as a motor showroom
- acting on disposal of land to the county council for use as a police station and fire station
- acting for small local developers in the disposal of sites with planning, with overage provisions in case the buying developers either increased the density of the proposed development or exceeded anticipated sales revenue
Strategic site assembly
- acting for developers in a strategic site assembly, including negotiating Options for purchase with a number of separate landowners and resolving a number of third party issues concerning easements, boundary issues, access and planning issues
- acting in relation to a number of Section 106 Planning Agreements to facilitate the grant of planning permission, including affordable housing provisions, planning contribution, on and off site works for local community, SANG provision and highway provisions
Project management and resolving land issues
- acting for a consortium of developers building out a major new town. The work has involved dealing with compulsory purchase, contractual, trust, title and bridleway issues. Facilitating the delivery not only of residential development but also a new high street and facilities for the new town such as parish facilities, a sport centre, police and fire station and business park
Promotion agreements and Options
- acting for landowners in a combined Promotion and Option Agreement. Liaising with tax advisors in relation to complex tax issues arising
- acting for developers on several promotion agreements with associated option provisions
Sara has negotiated several types of overage such as increased density overage, early sale on overage, overage triggered by exceeding an agreed revenue figure, overage where a number of units is exceeded, and overage where third party land is accessed or serviced via land being sold. These often involve complex drafting and negotiation of security arrangements, whilst ensuring that anticipated development is not adversely affected by charges or restrictions on title that prevent agreed unit sales.
Sara and team members have also acted in advising clients on the interpretation of existing overage provisions affecting their land.
Sara has acted for several residential developers in many affordable housing sales, including straight land sales for affordable housing, mass plot sale contracts, and sale contracts with associated development agreements for the build of the affordable housing by the residential developer.