SGJ

A family-owned property company specialising in identifying potential development land



About Us

SGJ is a family-owned property company specialising in identifying potential development land and promoting these sites for landowners. Based near Bicester in Oxfordshire we have over sixty years experience of securing sites and preparing planning applications for land we have bought and developed ourselves, and more recently for other landowners.

Expertise

SGJ uses its own resources, expertise and team of skilled consultants in helping other landowners promote their land within the local development framework. We work as a partner alongside the landowner to secure planning that best maximises the value of their land, and then sell on the open market to developers and house-builders for the best price. Like the owner, SGJ takes a share of the proceeds at the end of any subsequent successful sale.


Andrew Jewson

Andrew has been working for the family business since 1986 when he joined as the finance manager. He studied Physics at Imperial College and then trained for two years to be an accountant before finally getting involved with property development.


Kate Long

Kate is a graduate of Warwick University and worked as a commercial estate agent and negotiator for many years before joining SGJ in 1989. She is a director of the business and over sees the negotiations with the relevant parties.


Martyn Ellis

Martyn has been responsible for running our offices and administration since he joined us over ten years ago. After graduating from Manchester University he worked in the motor industry for a decade before becoming involved in commercial property management.


Stanley Jewson

Stanley still keeps an active role in the business he started even though he keeps telling us he has retired! He has a wealth of experience in land and property development since he started his motor and property business back in the 1950s.


Natasha Jewson

Natasha has a keen eye for identifying property and land and has been involved in the interior decoration of the properties, including fittings & fixtures and interior layouts of houses.





Landowners

We understand that every landowner is different and has different needs and circumstances. Very often there are joint owners and families involved, and like any partnership good communication is key. We are a friendly and professional company to work with, and we are very sensitive to each landowner’s different requirements.

As a landowner you only get to sell your land once and it is therefore vital that we help you achieve the maximum value by identifying the most suitable development use and the most appropriate developers. We use our experience and expertise to make the land planning and selling process clear, transparent and straightforward.


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Frequently Asked Questions


Who are SGJ?

We are a fully independent family-owned and run property company specialising in identifying potential development land and promoting these sites for the landowners. We have over sixty years experience of securing sites and preparing planning applications and selling land to developers. Whilst we do still buy land ourselves we keep this separate from land we are promoting for other landowners.


Is my land suitable for development?

There are lots of different factors that can affect suitability. Apart from the obvious location and size, and the nature of the surrounding area, these also include whether the land is in Greenbelt, or if it is a flood plain. SGJ can advise you about your land.


What is my land worth?

Land values can vary from £250,000 per acre to over £1m an acre depending on location, suitability and use.


What is a Land Promotion Agreement?

A Land Promotion Agreement is where a Developer agrees to apply for planning permission on behalf of the Landowner. The agreement will contain conditions that the promoter will use their own funds and resources, apply and obtain planning within a certain timescale and the split of the proceeds from the resulting sale of the land once planning has been obtained.


How do you get Planning?

The process has many components, all of which need to be considered before any application can be submitted. The land will need to be assessed as to its suitablility for appropriate development and of what type - residential, retirement, affordable, commericial or some mix of these. Ecologists will check for wildlife including newts, badgers and bats. Highways Engineers will need to advise on access. Soil specialists need to assess the type of substructure and check for possible contamination. Topologist will map a detailed plan of the land including heights. A flood-risk assessment needs to be carried out and trees checked for Preservation Orders. SGJ will liaise with all these different parties, the masterplanner, architect, planning consultant, local parish council, regional district council and sometimes a landscape architect to create the most suitable scheme with the highest chance of success for the planning application. SGJ will then submit the application with all the required information in a Design and Access Statement, and pay any and all relevant application fees.


How long does the whole process take?

At least a year and probably nearer two. Whilst we pride ourselves with a proactive and efficient service here at SGJ, planning is not a quick process. A planning application takes a minimum of 3 to 4 months to prepare properly, and with so many different professionals to liaise with it can take longer. Once the application is submitted the council has up to 3 months to reply; and then it will take longer if revisions are required, or if an appeal is required. Once planning has been obtained a sale usually takes a further 3 to 6 months to complete. Realistically you should assume that from contacting SGJ to receiving payment for your land it would take 12-15 months at best and could take closer to 2 years.


What are the costs of promoting my land?

The costs to achieve planning can vary between £50,000 to £250,000 or more depending on the size and complexity of the site. A typical residential site of 5 acres would cost the developer between £100,000 and £150,000. SGJ will provide its services for free and will use its own funds to pay for the planning process and application. The direct costs of the application are deducted from any subsequent sale, and the proceeds shared with the landowner who normally retains around 75%.


Is it expensive to develop the land myself?

Undoubtedly yes! In addition to the large pre-application planning costs it can cost several million pounds to build houses and the associated infrastructure (roads, utilities, drainage, etc.) in addition to the Local Authority costs such as Section 106 Payments, the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and Highway road improvements. It is an expensive business and that is why it is best to try and deal with a well funded developer such as SGJ from the outset.


Can SGJ promote my land?

We would welcome the chance to speak to you confidentially about your land and give you our thoughts on it's potential. We deal with land all over the south of England, from Devon to Kent, and especially around our home county of Oxfordshire. Some land promoters will only deal with sites of ten acres or more but we are happy to talk to you only if you have one acre - maybe even less! Phone our office on 01869-244774 and speak to Andrew.


Why use SGJ to promote my land?

You only get one chance to sell your land and so it is best to let the experts help to maximise the value. SGJ hires the best consultants and are not reliant on an in-house team. We pride ourselves on being efficient, communicative and tenacious. SGJ will take all the risk, do all the work and pay all the fees, all with your approval. If you do not have the knowledge or the funds or want to take the risk yourself, then it makes sense to employ specialists to maximise your opportunity. As a partner with a share in the final sale proceeds it is in our interest to minimise the risk by employing the best consultants, maximise the planning available, and sell for the highest price to the most suitable house-builder, in the shortest time possible.


Who pays for the work SGJ does?

SGJ uses its own funds to manage and pay for all aspects of the planning process and application. Working as a partner with the landowner it takes a share of the proceeds at the end on successful sale of the land. Whilst a standard Land Promotion agreement returns 70% to the landowner, SGJ returns 75% and will also help advise on VAT and Tax issues. SGJ will also pay for all reasonable legal expenses.


Is NOW a good time?

There are emerging favourable UK planning policies. The UK needs to build new homes and there is a growing appetite by the large House Builders to secure strategic land for future residential development.


Are there other Land Promoters?

Other land promoters are available. Check how many projects they are working on. SGJ take on no more than ten at any time so that we can give our full attention and focus to our current developments. Many promoters have a development side of the business (this can be a conflict of interest) or are aligned to just one or two house-builders. SGJ has contacts with most of the large house builders. Most land promoters will charge 30% of the final fee, plus VAT, if this has not been properly planned.


Can I get a fee upfront?

In some cases, YES ! With larger plots of land, and with Option agreements with house-builders, it is not unusual to be offered a nominal upfront fee from the promoter as a further show of commitment.


What is an Option Agreement?

In an Option Agreement, the landowner enters into a formal agreement directly with a house-builder. The builder has the right to buy the land at a specified time in the future, at price based on the value of the land once planning permission has been successfully obtained. If planning is not obtained then the land owner retains the title to the land.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of an Option?

For larger sites there are advantages to having a large reputable builder already on board to help with the planning process, and where the costs for planning can run away. There is also the opportunity to receive some money up front in return for a promotion commitment from the builder. On the downside it can be a slower process relying on busy house-builder to handle the planning, all their costs will eventually be taken off from the sale proceeds, and they will be buying the land at a stated discounted price to a defined ‘open market value’ which is usually a good deal lower than the true open market value that could be achieved. SGJ can advise on this and has contacts with the land directors at most of the large house-builders in the UK.


What about Tax?

Any agreement must be carefully structured to ensure the most advantageous tax treatment for both parties. Invariably with large sums involved we always recommend the landowner seeks tax advice. There are situations where a sale of land is viewed by the HMRC as free from CGT. This includes where the land is part of the existing house, which is the main residence, and the land forms part of what can be justified as the normal bounds of the house. The devil as ever is in the details, which is why a specialist tax advisor should always be sought. We can help recommend a good tax advisor familiar with these issues. Entrepreneurs relief and inheritance tax are other tax considerations.


What about VAT?

Land is ordinarily exempt for VAT purposes which means that VAT is not charged on any sale of land. However VAT can not be recovered on any costs incurred in promoting and selling the land. It is also possible for a land owner to register for VAT and "Opt to Tax" their land. This enables the land owner to reclaim VAT on any expenses incurred (for example a Land Promotion agreement). It also means that VAT would have to be charged on the sale of the land - but if you are selling to a VAT registered House Builder then this is not an issue.

Get in touch...


For advice on any property or land or classic car you may own, do please call:


Office: 01869 244774


Mobile: 07710 779820


andrew@sgjltd.com


SGJ Limited, Half Mile House, Little Chesterton, Bicester, OX25 3PD