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Renting Or Buying Council Land

Notice: Unfortunately due to the volume of land enquiries and the current level of resources available we will not be processing or progressing any requests to purchase land for the next 3 months. (1st September to 1st December 2021 inclusive). The situation will then be reviewed again.  

If you have paid a fee for this service and the land sale is currently in progress we can assure you that we will continue to action this but it may take longer than expected, please bear with us, and we will contact you to progress the matter in due course. If your request has not been processed to this stage your request will not be progressed at this time and you will need to re-apply when this service is available in the future.  

If you are a statutory body requesting an easement or a wayleave please note that this service will be provided in the normal manner and you should continue to apply.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we aim to resolve the situation as soon as we can. We will continue to update this webpage with the current position.

The majority of land owned by the council is open space. Use our Council Land Enquiry form to apply to purchase or request access over land that we own. Please note that there will be fees incurred with making this application, please see the fees section below for more detail.

Once you have completed the council land enquiry form, you can upload documents on our website. Once the enquiry form has been submitted a reference number (1234567) will be created. This will allow you to track the progress of your enquiry online. If you are asked to submit further supporting documents this can be done by logging back into your application using your reference number where you can upload the information.

We have no obligation to sell any land you request to buy. However, we will always consider the request made, unless it meets one of the following criteria:

  • We have a policy of not selling certain types of land e.g. some open space;
  • There are also pieces of land which may appear vacant and unused but are in fact held for strategic reasons e.g. Highway improvement or future housing/commercial development. It is unlikely that we would be able to sell sites of strategic importance;
  • Some areas of land may have title restrictions attached to them. This may mean we are unable to dispose of them.

What happens once I've completed the form?

The following information explains the process that may have to happen before a decision can be made. Please bear in mind that they may not all apply to your particular application. Other issues may also come to light during the process.

Once you have completed the application form and attached all of the information required it will be forwarded to the Land Enquiries team. They will then check that we own the land. At this point, an informal consultation will begin to decide whether or not the council wishes to sell or keep the area of land in question. This decision will be based on a number of factors and you will be advised in writing of the outcome.

If we do not wish to proceed with selling the land you will be advised of the reasons for the refusal. If we are willing to sell the land you will be advised of the procedure and fees involved. We will also ask for confirmation that you want to proceed with the application.

Consultation

Once you have confirmed that you wish to proceed with the application, and agree to pay the fees associated with this, we will start the consultation process. This is used to check there are no objections or reasons why the sale cannot take place.  

The consultation may involve the following:

  • Council Services;
  • Legal;
  • Grounds Maintenance;
  • Ward members;
  • Parish Councils;
  • The Planning Authority (to determine if planning permission for change of use is required);
  • Adjoining land owners;
  • Residents;
  • Any other interested parties.

This process usually takes a number of months due to workloads and staff availability. The consultation period may be longer for more complicated cases. You will be updated via your online application of the status of your application, and if any further evidence is required from you.

If no objections are raised from any consultees then the application will proceed to valuation. 

Valuation

Valuations of land are carried out by Canterbury City Council. We will obtain a quote from Canterbury City Council specific to your valuation, and we will agree the fee with you before the application progresses. This does not cover the cost of the land. You will be advised of the land cost once the valuation report has been issued. The valuer will provide us with a market value of the cost of the land and you will be advised of this in writing and asked whether or not you wish to proceed.

If you wish to proceed with purchasing the land you should instruct a solicitor to deal with the purchase. We will also instruct our solicitors. If you require planning permission this should be in place before instructing solicitors.

Planning Permission

Planning permission may be needed depending on what you intend to use the land for. You should make your own enquiries with the Planning Authority (see our Making Planning Applications page for more information).

If planning permission is granted it may be necessary to advertise the sale of council-owned open space in accordance with s123 (2)(a) and (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. You would be responsible for the costs of these advertisements. This is likely to cost around £700 (please note that this fee is set by the local newspaper and therefore varies).

Fees

Please note that purchasing land from the council can be a costly procedure. You will be asked to pay the following fees:

  • Officer time looking into the request, including time spent consulting with other teams, £193;
  • The costs of carrying out the valuation, which could be in the region of £900 excluding VAT;
  • The purchase price of the land;
  • The council’s legal costs, usually in the region of £500;
  • Your own legal costs;
  • The cost of obtaining planning permission for a change of use from open space, £335

Please note: these costs will not be refundable if the sale should not proceed for any reason. All fees quoted above are used as a guide only and are subject to review. Fees may vary depending on the nature of the transaction and the amount of officer time needed.

I want to apply for access over council land

You may wish to apply to use or access council land for a specific purpose rather than purchase the land.

The type of agreement you need to apply for depends on what you require the access for. Below are examples of how you may wish to use council land.

Easement

An easement is a permanent right of access over council land. An easement stays with the property forever and is paid for once. You may wish to apply for an easement if you are a private individual company and need to cross land owned by us to access part of your property, or to lay cables/pipes to part of your property. An easement gives you rights to use the land in a specific way. It does not give you ownership of the land in question or rights to use the land in any other way. 

Wayleave

A wayleave is a right to lay pipework under council land. This is a temporary agreement for a stated period of time and is usually used by utility companies.

Licence

If you wish to use council land for a specific purpose, but not purchase it, you may wish to apply to licence the land. A licence is a legally binding agreement between yourself and the council. It gives you rights to use a specified area of land, usually for a specific purpose. The length and cost of the licence will be determined by what you wish to use the land for.

Dropped Kerb

You can apply for a dropped kerb if you wish to have access over land to park on your private property. In Ashford borough, the land may be owned by our Housing Services Department or Kent County Council (KCC). Ownership of the land will be confirmed when you apply. If the land is owned by KCC you will have to apply to them for permission. You will also have to apply for planning permission for change of use of the land.

To apply for access on or over council land please click on the link at the top of the page and complete the application form providing all the information requested. There is no guarantee that your application will be agreed but you will be advised in writing of the decision.

A valuation of the land in question may need to be carried out and there will be fees attached.