Control strips are strips of land which run adjacent to third party land and are intentionally retained by a landowner to control future development and secure additional value in exchange for rights over the control strip. They are commonly encountered by developers when purchasing land for development.
Control strips can also be created accidentally after land is disposed of by way of a conveyance or transfer where conveyance plans are prepared incorrectly.
Developers should be aware of the implications of intentionally imposed control strips and make sure they are taking the necessary steps to prevent them.
Intentional and unintentional control strips can limit the ability of the developer to carry out its intended development. For example, they can either prevent the developer from properly implementing its scheme or could prevent the developer from connecting estate roads or services to the highway or other land.
To avoid unintentional control strips make sure conveyance plans are carefully overlaid against highways plan and the title plans to check for any intervening strips. You should also ensure you establish the ownership of any adjacent ditches, watercourses and highways.
If you are acquiring land which is affected by intentional control strips:
- Carry out overlays to confirm the extent of any control strips and establish whether the control strip is required to implement your scheme
- If the control strip is included in the planning permission, make sure that appropriate obligations are in place for the landowner to enter into all necessary infrastructure agreements and planning agreements to deliver the intended scheme
- Make sure that the property benefits from any rights to use the control strip in connection with your development. Usually, control strips are created to exclude external development from connection to the scheme so it is likely that a landowner will want to limit the scope of the rights to the intended development
- Where the control strips have been retained by a party other than the seller and no legal rights exist, consider whether the scheme can be implemented without them. This may mean excluding the control strips from the scheme entirely.