Mills and Mopps LLP, a small property development company, have been contacted by an independent school, Grove Park, seeking a developer JV partner to develop land next to the school as the site for their new sports centre and a mixed use development.
The land currently has two vacant low rise light industrial buildings on it: a car maintenance workshop ‘Windmill Motors’, and a metal fabricator’s workshop. The site was abandoned following the demise of both small businesses and has been left in a bad state with rusting cars and other debris. It has been the victim of fly-tippers and there is also an electrical sub-station at the back of the site and some buried power cables, the location of which is unknown.
The site is bordered on one side by the river Quaggy, a small London watercourse that has become silted up and polluted, and by a small low- rise housing estate on the other side.
In the middle of the site are the remains of an old windmill, dating from the mid-19th century and a reminder of the area’s rural past, which has been used for storing scrap metal. The windmill is not a listed building but it appears in the local list as a building of historic interest.The local council which owns the site had hoped to sell the site for housing but there has been little interest. It has now offered it to the school at a discount so that they can build a new sports centre but they still require flats developed on the site, as as some commercial use (artist’s studios), and they have indicated that the developer selected by the School to build the new sports’ centre should also develop the rest of the site to provide the residential accommodation and artists’ studios.
Grove Park’s initial budget for the purchase of the site and the construction of the sports centre is £2.5m., and they look to the developer to offset some of their costs through the sale of the commercial and residential units.
The Developers have been asked by the school to submit a preliminary written proposal for the use of the site and, as it looks as if the restoration of the windmill will become a condition of the planning consent, they have also been asked to investigate the options for the old windmill. Can it be demolished, for example?
Writing on behalf of the developer you are required to report to the School Governors as follows:
o Discuss the key statutory issues that need to be considered and any other matters that may affect the future use of the site.
o What statutory applications are required for the development of the site? o There appears to be some serious land contamination and the presence of
invasive weeds, such as Japanese knotweed. What are the implications of this?
o The school is very interested in pursuing a ‘green agenda’. What would be the key statutory considerations and what sustainable options are available for the development?
o They are particularly concerned about the site clearance and how to protect the windmill which they intend to ‘mothball’ until funds are available for its restoration. Discuss the different methods of procurement and recommend the one you consider most relevant to the project. Set out your preferred tendering procedures and state your choice of contract giving the reasons for your choice. In your answer you should make reference to how you would deal with the windmill.
o The school has raised that, in developing the site, the new buildings will be considerably higher than the low-rise housing estate bordering the site, and this may reduce the level of light to the houses. Also, some of the buildings may abut or be located less than 1 metre from the existing buildings. Indicate how to deal with these matters so as to minimise disputes with the neighbours.
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