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Freeholders Should Consider JVs Rather Than Selling-Off Airspace

Last summer’s changes to Permitted Development Rights (PDR), which made upward extensions of two-storeys to existing blocks of flats easier to progress, have in many cases slowed progress on potential projects rather than sped it up, according to Adam Clark, managing director at BRAC Developments.

The company specialises in developing airspace and says that progress has slowed because of the perceived value that freeholders are mistakenly placing on their roof space.

Clark fears that the PDR changes relating to the sector made last summer are making property owners somewhat greedy in what they perceive their roof spaces to be worth, and as such airspace development projects are being stalled. He has likened the increase in interest around potential airspace projects to the Gold Rush of the 1840s, although he warns that many freeholders are unlikely to realise their riches using their current approach.  

He adds: “Last summer’s PDR changes were a welcome step forward in enabling more airspace projects and interest in developing on rooftops has certainly grown ever since. However, with any freeholder able to apply for and often secure planning permission for a relatively small sum of money, we’re now seeing that rooftops are being marketed for greatly inflated sums, making acquisition and development financially unviable.

“Of course, any plot - rooftop or otherwise - with planning permission already in place commands a higher value than that which does not, but the impact that the opening up of airspace’s potential has had on perceived values is mind-boggling. Not only that, but it’s actually having a detrimental effect on progress in the sector.”

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