Purchasing council land

We may consider selling certain types of council land, including small areas of council land within housing estates, garages and surplus land.

Small areas of council land within housing estates

We will consider selling small plots of land next to residential homes.

For full details on the type of land we will and will not dispose of, read our disposal of land within housing estates policy (pdf)

You can apply to purchase council land online. To complete the application, you will need:

  • photos of the land
  • a sketch showing the dimensions and position of the land you are applying for in relation to your property
  • to describe the boundary features and their dimensions, particularly the height, if you intend to enclose the land with walls or fences
  • to be aware of the fees involved if your application progresses - application fee £240, planning application fee £462, valuation fee of £360 and legal fee £350

Land application process

Initial assessment

Once you’ve submitted the application form, we will check whether the land is definitely owned by the council and if the land is within the scope of our policy. There are no fees to pay at this stage. This usually takes 4 weeks.

Land application

If the land is council-owned and is within the policy scope, we will then process your application and decide if it meets the criteria for sale. At this stage, you will need to pay the land application fee of £240. This usually takes 4 weeks, unless a Cabinet decision is required.

Planning application

If the land sale criteria are met we will send you a provisional offer. We will ask you to submit a full planning application for the change of use from public to private. You will need to pay the planning application fees of £462. This usually takes 8 weeks.

Land valuation

Once you have agreed to the provisional offer and received planning approval we will instruct an RICS qualified valuer to find out the value of the land. You will need to pay the valuation fee of £360. The usually takes 3 weeks.

Valuation offer

Once we receive the valuation, we will send you the valuation offer for your approval. We will ask for your solicitor’s details at this stage.

Legal exchange and completion

Once you have accepted the valuation we will instruct Harlow Council Legal Services to draft the legal documents and send them to your solicitors for approval.

Following approval from your solicitors, the signed transfer is registered at HM Land Registry and the process ends. You will need to pay the legal fee of £350. The usually takes 4 to 8 weeks.

Garage sales

We do not sell garages if there are more than 4 garages in a block.

If you are renting a garage from us and want to purchase it, you need to email your request, along with a copy of your tenancy agreement, to gis.team@harlow.gov.uk

Council surplus land

We regularly review our property portfolio. Land or buildings surplus to requirements is generally advertised for sale locally and nationally

You can look at our brownfield land register for a list of suitable residential development sites.