Development Experience

1st Project: June 2014. Commercial to Residential Joint Venture Project - 97 & 95 Farnborough Road, Farnham. GU9 9AL.

2 semi-detached Victorian corner-shop houses. Originally, 3-bed living accommodation with shop in the front room. Both properties were under one ownership and they both been extended to the rear and walls taken out on the ground floor.

The property on the right (no. 97) was still running as a general store/newsagent but had very little trade as it was dark, dirty and smelly. The first floor had been converted into a 3-bed flat about 20 years ago and was also dark, dirty and smelly. All services except Water had already been split.

The property on the left (no. 95) had been empty for 8 years, since it was bought by the owner, but prior to that it had been office accommodation. This building was in much better condition internally, though very smelly having not been ventilated or heated for all those years. It also had a second staircase providing access to the first floor so at some point it had been intended to be a flat. However, there were significant structural issues as the end gable wall had detached from the building and was also sinking slightly.

Both properties had good sized gardens that had been turned into car parking for the two businesses.

We had two options with this site: 1) Demolish everything and build 8 new flats, or 2) Convert the buildings into 4 flats and obtain planning permission to build 2 properties in the car parks.

Calculations showed that would be no profit to make with option 1, and so we chose option 2.

Purchase Price: 465,000

Anticipated maximum GDV: £1,200,000

Based on an average sale value of £210,000 per flat, and land value with planning for 2 3-bed semis at £250,000

A Certificate of Lawfulness was granted for the first floor flat in no. 97. and Permitted Development Approval was given for the shop on the ground floor within the expected timescales.

There were severe delays in the local planning office due to lack of staff and it took 8 months to get Permitted Development approval to convert the second building, no.95.

The first application for planning permission also encountered severe delays for the same reasons, and although recomended for approval by the planning officers was rejected by the planning committe. An appeal was filed and on 14th October 2015 permission was granted to build two 3-bed semi detached town houses.

Conversion and refurbishment of no. 97 is complete and both flats have been sold. Work on no. 95 is currently underway.