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Warning over land deal scam

PUBLISHED: 08:19 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:42 12 July 2010

Council officials on have issued an urgent warning about a company that is offering land for sale in mid Suffolk as a development opportunity without planning consent.

Council officials on have issued an urgent warning about a company that is offering land for sale in mid Suffolk as a development opportunity without planning consent.

A land scale scheme operating in the Thorndon area, south of Eye, has been identified which requests an initial £500 deposit per parcel. And planning officers at Mid Suffolk District Council are concerned that people are being drawn into a deal that has little or no chance of planning permission being obtained.

The scheme advertises a site plan - for illustration purposes - which implies that the 11 hectare site will deliver 300 houses.

The site is in a countryside location, 0.5 km from Thorndon which is classified as a secondary village in Mid Suffolk's Core Strategy. This reflects the limited services and facilities on offer. Future housing allocations will not be sought in this area.

A council spokesman said: “Companies operating these schemes seek investors to buy plots of land, often greenfield, in areas that have not been granted planning permission and which have a strictly limited potential to ever be developed. The operators of these schemes promote the plots as part of a future housing development and offer to handle the process for the plot-owners.

“It is frequently claimed that once owners are granted planning permission they can sell the whole site to a developer for a substantial profit.”

The council has not named the company behind the Thorndon initiative. But it said it is aware that land sale firms offer huge gains to entice investors, on the premise that the plots of agricultural land they sell will gain planning permission for housing development at some time in the future, causing the agricultural land to soar in value. Despite small print clauses pointing out that these profits are not guaranteed there is a positive outcome anticipated by the documents and the promotional material.

Anyone with concerns and who has already purchased some land is asked to contact the council's planning policy section via email at: planning policy@midsuffolk.gov.uk

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