Photo of David Heath

David Heath (Somerton and Frome, Liberal Democrat)

May we have a debate on what I can only call bogus land banks? An internet site is offering 209 so-called building plots in my constituency for up to £18,000 a time in the village of Dean, which comprises about 30 houses. The plots are on agricultural land that will never, ever have planning permission for such development.

I do not think that the offer is illegal at the moment, but it is undoubtedly a scam. May we have a debate on how we can better protect the potential purchasers, who often will not be in this country, but are expatriates hoping to come home and retire in a house in beautiful rural Somerset? They may find that they have actually bought a field.

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Mark Serpico
Posted on 12 Dec 2008 5:35 am (Report this annotation)

I am a recently returned expatriate and I am disgusted and ashamed at the way UK land plots are being offered in Asia.
The land plots are being marked up by over 1500% on the original purchase price and offered as highly profitable investment opportunities supported by TV and Newspaper advertising using UK football celebrities.

The FSA position is a joke warning only that the risk is land banking may constitute a collective investment scheme. In fact the real risk and almost certain outcome is an investor will lose all of their money.

The UK local authorities will not make any clear statements on the land for fear of pre-determining a planning application. That planning authority weakness is used by the land banking companies to "prove" that the planning opportunity is real and highly likely.

The UK authorities need to act as a group consistently between government, local authorities, consumer groups and legal enforcement to stamp out this shameful and fraudulent activity in land plots.
We can hardly complain about the constant scams operating out of Nigeria or Spain if the UK is enabling wholesale deception to be provided in Asia.

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