Kam and Shaun talking

It’s been eighteen years since Kam Sagar and his business partner Shaun Sabet first crossed paths. With thirty years combined experience in securing planning permission and property development, Landocean was formed. Four years on and Kam and Shaun discuss why Landocean exists today and how they are helping property owners in their core patch of Ealing, as well as beyond, to add value to their properties, providing them with financial freedom to start ventures anew or simply spend more time with their families.

How did you first meet?

We actually met at university where we were paired together in halls of residence whilst pursuing our post graduate degrees in Property Development, Planning and Estate Management. In-between the intense studying and social gatherings we’d discuss into the wee hours our shared passion for property development and the art of creating value and a legacy to boot.

Even during these early days, there was a desire to do things differently. The property development industry was often guilty of depicting over-aspirational and stereotypical scenes of young couples sipping champagne on their balconies at twilight whilst admiring the view of Tower Bridge. Being Londoners ourselves, we knew that this wasn’t the reality for most aspiring and existing homeowners.

Following graduation, we both joined prominent housebuilders to learn and ply our trade in land-buying and attaining planning permission.

When and why did you decide to set up Landocean?

During 2008, whilst in the middle of an international financial crisis, we took the bold step of leaving our jobs and setting up our own land and planning business, which was the precursor to Landocean. This was something we’d wanted to do for a long time.

As developers in our former lives, we loved the buzz of working in the sector and felt tremendously proud witnessing projects progress from an initial sketch and spreadsheet to a fully built out scheme with young families proudly moving into the flats that we built.

However, one of the core tenets of property development is to buy land at the right price – the money is made at this point. This inevitably entailed scouring the market for ‘steals’: properties that clearly had redevelopment potential but with owners who were typically compromised due to a lack of time, money or knowledge of the planning system.

This is commonly the way in the property sector, whereby people are often unable to profit fully from their assets, be it a home they have lived in for thirty-five years, or a commercial site they have run a business from for generations. We strongly believed that they should be the ones benefiting from the true value of their asset and so Landocean was formed to enable just that

How has Landocean been helping property owners add value to their property?

We’ve helped numerous owners of residential and commercial property throughout the London Borough of Ealing and beyond. Each one has a unique story, but common to all is the bond we forge with our clients as a result of a shared passion to enhance the value of their property.

Many are owners who have lived in their properties for generations and understandably there can be trepidation and even procrastination when it comes to down-sizing and/or relocating. But this is where Landocean fits in perfectly as obtaining planning permission takes time; in some cases between twelve to eighteen months. With a bit of foresight, those on the cusp of down-sizing or selling have really benefited from the service we offer, realising significantly higher sales prices, whilst also having the time to carefully choose a new home to move into.

We have enabled our clients to manage their affairs and generate windfalls to pass on to their loved ones, take a trip around the world and even start new business ventures of their own!

Which types of property have development potential?

Typically, we find the most suitable projects are those properties that are detached and sit on a generous plot, particularly in terms of width.

These could be houses, care homes, MOT stations, former public houses, offices, detached garages and the like. If your property is low-lying in relation to your neighbours, then this is a bonus too!

Our recent project on Somerset Road in West Ealing comprised two neighbouring post-war properties, two storeys in height and bounded either side by flatted developments that were three storeys in height. Planning permission was achieved for a total of seventeen apartments.

So if you have a property that fits this criteria, is it straightforward to achieve planning permission?

The short answer is no! It is a challenge, but one that we relish and consistently overcome. Each site has its own merits and constraints. Landocean is able to identify these very early on and devise a realistic development proposal combined with a planning strategy that will succeed.

Concentrating our activity in the London Borough of Ealing and a few other core patches, has allowed us to develop a detailed understanding of what the planning officers are likely to support, as well as the idiosyncrasies of how the Planning Departments of these Boroughs operate.

For each planning application, we assemble an ‘A Team’ of consultants to support our planning applications, including architects, arboriculturists, highway engineers, ecologists, daylight and sunlight surveyors and heritage experts to name a few. No expense is spared in ensuring that we have the best people on the job on behalf of our clients.

What are some of the pitfalls that property owners encounter?

It is often acknowledged in the industry that planning is an art, not a science. Indeed, it is an art that Landocean has honed over thirty years of experience.

We aim to have a full planning application submitted within three months of entering into contract with our clients.

The statutory time frame to decide a typical planning application is eight weeks, however, the reality is that planning departments are quite often under-resourced. This can lead to delays, which is why we typically allow for a twelve month period to obtain planning consent.

We are therefore well-equipped to deal with the challenges that arise within the planning arena. Key to mitigating these is a well thought-out planning application at the outset – one that conforms with local policies and is presented in such a way so as to gain the support of Planning Officers.

Where does Landocean come in to help?

As we fully fund your planning application, we are intrinsically aligned with you to then navigate the typical pitfalls of the process. These include managing delays, counter-representing local objections, ensuring continuity of advice when faced with staff turnover within the Planning Department, and negotiating any required amendments to the proposal, whilst always endeavouring to preserve value for Landocean clients.

Landocean exists to take the hassle of obtaining planning permission away from its clients, whilst ensuring that they achieve an enhanced value when selling their property. We independently and fully fund the planning application on your behalf and only take a share of the value that we create as a result of gaining you planning permission. We therefore share your interest in securing you the best planning permission we can.

We would love to hear from you at the point in time where you are thinking of selling as opposed to needing to sell.

If you are thinking of down-sizing, estate planning to minimise future inheritance or capital gains tax liabilities, selling your business premises, or perhaps you’ve just inherited a property with development potential – then we are on hand to be of service.

We provide a friendly, hands-on service to all of our clients and are there throughout to discuss your project with you.

Are there any options for property owners that simply don’t have time to go through the planning process?

We do receive enquiries from owners who have properties which have been on the market with an estate agent and have failed to sell. In some cases this may have already incurred a six month timeframe and would then need to wait another twelve months for planning permission to be granted. This can be too prolonged. We were able to help find another solution to enable a sale by promoting the property with its future development value to a prospective investor, who went on to pay a substantial premium for the property, resulting in a very happy seller.

This is due to our experience in the development sector which enables us to recognise planning potential.

So if you have a property which you feel may benefit from our experience here at Landocean, simply get in touch to discuss the best way to meet your full development potential