Crowborough pic

Case study: Orchid Riding Centre, Walshes Road, Crowborough

Our land managers are always on the lookout for viable sites while out in the field and this case study perfectly demonstrates how the proactive approach we live by pays dividends for both the land owners wishing to sell and the housebuilders we work closely with.

The site of interest

We established the location and potential of this 15.17 ac/6.14 ha land parcel in Crowborough, Sussex, could be of interest to several promoters we had been in talks with. Armed with that industry knowledge, we made a speculative approach to the landowner.

Formerly an equestrian centre and residential property, the site next door was in the process of being redeveloped and the promoter of that site was already in discussions with the landowner in question.

We explained to the landowner in this case that we had a previous deal history with several other promoters who would be interested in the land. We offered to put it forward to other promoters for consideration and provide detailed feedback to the landowner in relation to their interest.

New promoter offers were obtained for the landowner to consider

The promoters we approached assessed the planning potential and, with a timeline set by Searls Land, they submitted their detailed offers setting out the terms under which they were interested in securing a contract with the landowner.

We presented all the offers to the landowner and they, with our advice, accepted an offer from Wates Developments – a housing scheme for 150 units under the terms of a promotion agreement.

There was a mechanic in situ on the land, as well as two residential houses, a riding school and a stable yard. The landowner had another farm he was happy to move the horses to and the mechanic was happy to move because the site wasn’t fit for purpose for their business anymore.

Land sale achieved

The land was sold for a life-changing sum of money. The landowners received the majority share while the promoter received their costs back plus their agreed percentage share of the land value achieved, all being based upon the original signed agreement which Searls Land helped the landowner to negotiate.

The Section 106 affordable housing requirement was 53 units out of the total development number of 150. We contacted a variety of housing associations and agreed terms between Wates and Town & Country HA, a deal which recently completed.

From getting the site introduced, under contract, in planning, granted and then sold on took just over two years, a fast result in the current planning environment.


Orchid Riding Centre, Walshes Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6

Transaction A – Acquired for Wates Developments under the terms of a promotion agreement. Planning status – none.

Transaction B – Sold under the terms of a joint venture with Vistry Homes. Planning status – outline planning for 150 Units

Transaction C – S106 affordable housing acquired for Town & Country Housing. Affordable housing provision of 53 units

Land parcel - 15.17 ac / 6.14 ha

Prior use - equestrian farm and residential house