Martin Lee @ Sg
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Investing in UK Land

You might have found my blog because you were doing further research on this topic. In any investment (especially non-regulated ones), it pays to do your due diligence before you commit any sum of money.

Successful investing is all about managing your risks and if you do not know what your risks are, you stand a higher chance of losing your hard-earned money.

UK landOne approach I take when doing any research on a new unregulated investment product is to search google for that topic with the word “scam” added behind. While there are both truths and lies sprouting on the internet and you would be wise to take things you find with a pinch of salt, the internet is still a good starting point for any research.

If you search “Uk land investment scam” in google, you are likely to find a couple of sites discussing about UK land investments. There is one site which stands out: Property Scam, which is dedicated to discussing everything about UK land investments.

From that site, I found out a few things:

  • There are dozens of land investment companies around the world dealing in UK land investment. The list includes:
  • A few of them have ceased operations and their investors are left holding the land they bought from them.
  • So far, there has not been any documented success of planning permission being obtained by these companies.
  • This article by BBC mentioned that the plot you buy could have a huge mark-up of 10-100 times.That is how most of the companies has been able to expand so rapidly even though they do not have any success stories yet.

While I cannot ascertain that everything written at Property Scam is true, investing in UK land through a land banking company requires a very long time horizon and returns are not guaranteed. However, the returns are very high if planning permission can be obtained.

If you are considering investing, please do your due diligence on the company you are investing with, and only invest with a company you can trust (and with money you can spare). Good luck.

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75 comments
James Lee says last year

Hi, I invested 2 plots of land in Titchfield and 1 plot in Durdren (spelling) UK since 2005, with Jardine Smith International JSI.

There was no regular report / update from the JSI office in KL, Malaysia.

They only give a brief only when I asked them for an updated report.

The latest report that I received was that the Titchfield land has received planning approval and they have started their marketing action but with some more works to do to enhance the land’s value.

I take this report with a lump of salt as it seems so perfect.

Did anyone invest in the same Titchfield plots of land in UK?
If you did, did you get a similar from your JSI office in Singapore, KL, Malaysia or elsewhere?

Appreciate your input.

Tqvm.

Reply
Thomas Lee says 6 years ago

Hi everyone,

There are some wrongs and rights to this discussion. If there’s any personal vendetta against anyone involved in this constructive discussion, I hope it is cast aside.

I hope this can be as constructive as possible to view and appreciate different opinions.

For a start, I am an investment banker for 11 years and I shall not boast my credentials here and would rather leave my opinions for your appreciation and part of your due diligence.

I have a client whom already invested or I should say in this instance “bought” Agarwood plantation in APS and a piece of 100m2 Romford land in UK and he was asking me for opinions.

IMHO, these are speculative purchases with desired “potential returns”. To those whom purchased these plantations and land – are for speculative purposes. And this can be called as speculative investors. Since these purchases are for speculative purposes, the returns are speculated in a dynamic and unspecific time frame. Therefore it is suitable to different risk appetite of a speculator.

On hindsight, due diligence still have to be intensified in speculative investments. This discussion board is another useful way in making due diligence. Having said that, I have to agree with some of the major contributors to this Forum as the future seems bleak for such speculative investments/purchases.

Just an ordinary mate!
Cheers!

Reply
Fatima Alzayani says 7 years ago

HI
where can I find information about the current status of strategic land investment? about thier scam or about court case?

please help me.
Fatima

Reply
    Steve F says 7 years ago

    @Fatima Alzayani

    Which company do you want to know about ?

    Reply
Joe P says 7 years ago

A hypothetical example
——————————-
I buy 100 Acres of UK green belt land at the open market price of $10,000 per acre (I spend $1 Million). You once attended a timeshare seminar so I call you up to come down to a fabulous hotel for lunch and meet my sexy sales people and get an iPad 2 and a free shopping voucher..

I tell you and your wife in the closed market of this beautiful hotel that the same UK land (only with houses on it and not greenbelt) is worth $5M per acre. I am so sure of the potential for this land. I am only going to sell you 75%. I am keeping 25% for myself. We are in this together. I love you and your beautiful wife. And here is a free iPad and shopping voucher to prove it.

I sell you 75 acres at $1 Million per acre. (You spend $75 Million)

It is discovered in the real world outside the hotel ballroom that the land is called green belt because it cant be developed in any meaningful timeframe. After a time the company is closed down because the authorities ban this kind of business. I still love you. I tell you of my sorrow and surprise. We blame the government, and the market and those horrible horrible people on the internet . We agree to liquidate the land on the open market ( still $10,000 per acre)

You get $750,000 for your 75 acres of land
I get $250,000. for my 25 acres of land

I have made a gross profit of $74,250,000 or 7425%
You have made a loss of $74,250,000 or 99% of your investment.
Strangely my profit is the same as your loss.

I take my profit , move to Dubai and buy another 100 acres of UK greenbelt land (or wine stock , or gold in a warehouse ) and rent a hotel ballroom in Singapore.

My telesales people call your wife and say come get a free shopping voucher and iPad 5……………..

Reply
veg says 7 years ago

Anyone knows if JS is a rebirth company that used to exist under a different name? The CEO is british? If not lucritive, why do they invest 25% into the land they pruchased?

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ai says 7 years ago

to all who tried to get a refund for JSI’s Romford UK project, did u manage to get it in the end? We paid a deposit last weekend, but after reading all these reviews, have called and told them we wish to withdraw. They ‘ve made an appt to speak with us this sat to try and convince us not to.

I’m wondering if there is a law stating a cooling period for investments like land banking? I’ve check with MAS and found out that land banking is not under their purview.

I’m also wondering if threatening to write into the ST and to CASE will help us get our deposit back.

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Steve F says 7 years ago

Try the CAD. I am sure that there will be small print in the contract protecting them however if any salesperson told you about development prospects you might have a case because there are none !

Write down everything you were told and the whole cycle end to end.
How were you introduced to the products, what did they offer you to go there, what did they offer when you got there, did they promise anything. Did they talk about minimums or maximums.

Did they make any reference to the UK local authorities or risks associated with green belt land ?

Also may want to just read up on UK land banking in Google

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Ann says 7 years ago

Hi, anyone can help. I have paid Jardin smith 100%. After reading all your posts, I have approached Jardin smith for refund/return the money to me. I have made lots of noises and I did not managed to get the money back. What can I do next?

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heng says 7 years ago

re: land sale gatwick in U.K.
through http://www.landwealthecentre.com/

is this a land scam ?

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Grace says 7 years ago

I forgot to tell… the plan is at Romfold, greenbelt zone… any comment. Should I quit?

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    Empathy says 7 years ago

    all the comments that you need are here in this forum. If you have read them all and still decide to pay the remaining 90%, you only have yourself to blame for losing all your money.

    Don’t hope for anything that this investment can give you. At most it can give you are heartaches and the pain of losing your hard earned money.

    Reply
Grace says 7 years ago

I am from HK. If I was able to read all your comment before I went to the presentation, I wouldn’t have given them the 10% deposit. In fact,
after I made the decision, I checked on website and there are many negative comment on land development in green belt zone in HK.

I just want to make investment and I am sure all investment has risk. Yet, it has to be a affordable risk. It can’ t sth cheating people.

Do you all have any comment as I have to pay the balance in 2 days. 🙁

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Helpless Lady says 7 years ago

I had just bought a plot of land @ Romford at JSI event held in Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore on 31 July 2011 & had paid the full amount of $20K 10% via credit card & 90% via cheque… the cheque was collected by the them at the evening from my place. I initially find it odd that they seems to rush into collecting the $ but the very friendly & seems honest staff explains it’s bcos it’s nth end so he had to submit the payment 1st thing the next morning. Anyone can help me by telling me what to do next? After reading the posts on JSI really scares me & I hope to get back my hard-earned money as it took me to save such amount… I actually intend to have the $ leaps to a bigger sum for my girl’s future education fund! To-date, I had yet to get my title deed, that’s trigger me to search online for their contacts & ere I see so much negative comments about UK landbanking

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    Empathy says 7 years ago

    Helpless Lady,

    if i am you, i will go to their office and demand my money back. Go make a lot of noise. Show them all the negative comments. Tell them you will spread the news of them conning your hard-earned 20K.

    The money is for your daughter’s future. If you are not going to do anything, you can kiss goodbye to your money because it is sure not going to come back. Please don’t hope that it will. Jardin Smith marked up 5000% before they sell it to you. They can walk away and don’t need to bother about getting it rezoned.

    The choice is yours. And please tell all your friends to watch out for JSI.

    Reply
      Steve F says 7 years ago

      I agree with the comments made but since you were sold this very recently the first point of contact should be your client rep. Be reasonable and give them the opportunity to be reasonable.

      Dont get confused on the title deed – it probably will come eventually but it is a deed for almost worthless land – it is the money you should be concerned about.

      Call and politely ask for a refund saying that after research and cooling off you regret your purchase decision as you will need the funds in the short term and would like a refund. Follow that up with a letter.

      If they refuse then i would suggest you go to the steps suggested by Empathy and I would add report them to CASE.

      Reply
Pope says 8 years ago

I chanced upon this as I was looking for alternatives to my investment. I have invested in many sorts. Took risks. I am losing money with some investment which you people think is SAFE –

never say never.

It looks to me there is such a war here instead of assessment. Pros and cons in every investment there will be.

Reading from the last point….

Well, does it mean that the stories published from UK local newspaper is of no truth?

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Veronica says 8 years ago

You guys should read this. Please visit this website. This should answer some of your queries.

http://www.jsi.com.sg/NewsArchives.html

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    Steve F says 8 years ago

    Veronica

    All the carefully selected news stories in the world dont change the truth.

    UK Green Belt land on the open market costs in the region of £3000-£12,000 per Acre.

    That is UKP 0.7 – UKP 3.0 Square Metre. It depends on how many acres you are buying as a plot, it’s suitability for farming and it’s location . Green Belt land is cheap like a lottery ticket because it is almost impossible to get a return from it.

    For those in Singapore that is S$1.6 – S$6.2 Per Square Metre. Yes really.

    Not sure on the size and price of Jardin Smith plots but Profitable plots were advertising 62 Metres Square Green Belt plots in London for UKP 8000 / S$ 17,000

    Assuming best case those plots are worth UKP 185 Pounds or S$390 per plot . Since they are very small and owned by foreigners (and therefore difficult to negotiate and purchase) they are probably at the bottom end and worth less than S$100 a plot.

    If you want to buy UK land as an investment buy the field next door to the land banking scheme. You’ll get 10-100 times more land for the same money, and you may even be able to rent the land for farming use. In the long term you can expect around 5% gross increase in value per year but you may have maintenance and insurance costs. Squatters can be an issue and make claim on the land if you dont maintain it. You also have a lottery like chance of it being required for development in your lifetime and might eventually make some big money.

    Reply
    Steve F says 8 years ago

    Hello Veronica

    More meaningless news stories that have nothing to do with the investment being made. Typical land banking BS. Here are two straight questions for you:-

    1: Which Jardin Smith sites will be converted for planning permssion in the next 30 years ?
    2: In what order and when do you expect them to be converted ?

    Give a straight answer.

    My answer based on my assessment is
    1: No sites will be converted
    2: They will not obtain planning permission

    Jardin Smith will not answer this question in writing. They will only estimate a range of minimums with no maximums.

    Reply
Steve F says 8 years ago

Saiful

Do you really have to ask. ?

The same scam is repeated over and over again but each time someone asks if this time it is OK to invest. Why is this time any different ? There have been zero successful conversions of UK land banking plots sold under thses schemes. Zero. None. Every UK Land Banking scheme (and I count 60+ to date) promised huge returns and none of them delivered. Most of them have failed or are in the process of failing.

Also check their web site. It has data from 2007 and is full of spelling mistakes. It claims to be a global/international company but has no offices in the UK and lists none outside of Malaysia.

Check with the UK local authority and the UK land registry. If it was a great investment why would they need to sell it in KL ?

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saiful says 8 years ago

Hi everyone,

Last weekend I had just attend a UK land investment event organized by Capitawealth International Sdn.Bhd. (locally incorporated.). Their office in KL.

The land located in Wilmslow, Manchester and I just want to know either this plot is in the greenbelt area or not?

Can anyone inform?

thanks.
Saiful.

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    Dickson says 6 years ago

    Yes they are! The Capitawealth International Sdn. Bhd. which currently moved to Plaza Mont Kiara is a scam company. Do not do your investment with this company!

    Reply
Steve F says 8 years ago

Korm

Not making fun I am trying to make a point. The land is pretty close to worthless without planning permission. Planning permssion cannot be obtained accortding to the local authority. .

Therefore the free iPad may indeed prove to be worth more than the tru value of the land which is unfortunate.

It is a lesson on how people get disorientated by free gifts when they should only really focus on the value of the actual purchase.

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Steve F says 8 years ago

South Bucks council have responded on the what do they know request.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/status_of_land_in_gerrards_cross

After reading it all I can say is if you got a free IPad for buying this land – the Ipad is probably worth more than the land.

A beter way to look at this deal is you got free land with your very expensive Ipad 🙂

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    KORM says 8 years ago

    Dear Steve,

    Foolish to have made fun of people who have invested and gotten their gifts of iPad. Wished you could have kept this part of opinion to yourself and would have kept your credibility and integrity. Please be objective, not subjective.

    Reply
Mike says 8 years ago

Extract from email from South Bucks

I refer to your email received on 16th August 2010.

The land in question lies within the Green Belt where there is a presumption against new development, We have several enquiries into the development potential of this land within recent months. No formal planning applications have been submitted. I refer to the following link for further information:

http://www.southbucks.gov.uk/environment_planning/planning/thinking_of_buying_a_plot_of_land_in_south_bucks.aspx

I hope this information is useful.
=========================

The website mentioned says that South Bucks have enough land without considering Green Belt land until 2026.

Given the millions of acres of Green Belt land available and the very protected nature of Gerrards Cross I think it highly unlikely that this land would ever be developed. Even if the council needs Greenbelt in 20 years time practically why would that council want to contact hundreds of small plot investors with out of date contact details spread across several countries in Asia when they could just talk to a single local landowner and voter about his large plot ?

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Steve F says 8 years ago

Dear Lion Investor

I have received an update from the UK Land Registry on this Gerrards Cross site ands also posted another what do they know request under the correct local authority. That link can be seen here and should get a response in 10 days or so.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/status_of_land_in_gerrards_cross

The UK land registry response is as follows.

– The area of land is registered
– It would appear that small areas are being sold off to
individuals in Singapore.
– Some registrations of this nature are completed
– It would appear at the moment that this land is fields,
– It would appear to be sold as owning a small part of England (not for building or investment)

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    lioninvestor says 8 years ago

    Hi Steve,

    I think we all know what is the type of response they will give. 😀

    Reply
Steve F says 9 years ago

Status on Water Orton from the local authority

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/plank_lane_water_orton_status

No planning permission has been sought for, or granted to Jardin Smith, for residential development in Water Orton.

Indeed it would be very rare for any planning permissions to be granted for residential development in Water Orton on Green Belt land. This is because residential development by definition is “inappropriate” development in such a location.

It therefore carries a presumption that planning permission will be refused. This is Government Planning policy as well as that of this Council.

Planning permissions can be granted on Green Belt land, but the applicant has to convince the Council that there are “very special circumstances” in order to override the presumption as set out above. “Land Banking” would in my view not constitute such a circumstance.

If you have any further queries please contact me.

Jeff Brown BA, Dip TP, MRTPI
Head of Development Control
North Warwickshire Borough Council

Reply
    sheela says 8 years ago

    Both me and my friend attended a talk held by Jardin Smith International (JSI) at Westin Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on 8th August with regards to Land Investment at Jarred Cross Street. Land area 1076sq ft at a price of RM60. Initially the price offered was at Rm69. We requested for a reduction and it was given at Rm60 per sq feet. Is this plot of land under Green Belt? They showed us the location of the land. It is so convincing as the infrastructure such as the highways, Heathrow Airport, houses which are already developed, leaving this particular plot of land at Jarred Cross which is 26 acres not developed. This was their selling point. Apparently the owner is unable to develop the land due to financial constraint and therefore JSI has come forward and purchased the land from the owner. From there on they will apply for re-zone through a third party whom they have engaged for all their earlier Land investment projects. Minimum waiting period of 3 years before they can apply for re-zone.
    I’m quite dubious of this whole procedure? Please advice me accordingly. For your information, 10% deposit has been paid which they mentioned it was refundable.

    Reply
      KC says 8 years ago

      honest opinion?

      After reading all the above comments, you should have an idea what to do. Please go and get your 10% back if you ever want to see your money again.

      UK landbanking has never been proven to work and give returns to clients unlike Canadian land.

      Reply
      Steve F says 8 years ago

      KC is 100% right on this. Why are you even considering this when you dont know anything about the land location or status. ?

      Get your deposit back and forget all about it.

      If you still believe there is a magic pot of gold in Jarred Cross write to the local authority. But i think you may mean Gerrard Cross – If it is Gerrard Cross then it is famous for being both expensive and well controlled I think you can be certain its Green Belt land. Post the full address of the land and i can tell you the name of the local authority to contact.

      Let me be clear you can apply for UK planning any time you like If they have to wait 3 years for re-zone. 3 years is simply enough time between your investment and your almost certain loss for you to pass through the 5 stages of change to accept the loss you will inevitably take.

      One of the clever things about Land Banking investments. If I take $10,000 from you today for a worthless item and promise to buy it back to tomorrow with 200% profit and dont you will have me arrested. If I promise it back to you in 3 years and dont you write it off. Check most of the Land Banking customers who have lost money – they have said life is too short and let it go.

      There is a big payout on this investment. You are the big payout.

      Reply
      Joe P says 8 years ago

      Hello Sheela

      The Land Jardin smith are offering is Gerrards Cross
      The land on the North East side of Oxford Road, Gerrards Cross,
      Buckinghamshire, SL9 8DT UK

      It is Greenbelt Land Read a little more on Gerrards Cross here.
      http://www.gerrardscross.gov.uk/gx/index.htm
      It is a nice place, expensive, good for Heathrow, London and close to lots of major infrastructure.

      It is also 89% Green Belt land !

      Local authority is here
      http://www.southbucks.gov.uk/contact.aspx

      You have the information – now its your choice.

      Reply
p k Chan says 9 years ago

I have been told by friends to invest with Jardin Smith in Land Banking.
Whats your opinion on their land status

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clarence says 9 years ago

hi, anyone successful in getting back their 10% deposit refund?

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    Kim says 8 years ago

    Regarding the Water Orton land parcel, you may want to write to the local authority at [email protected] for their comments. I did so in December 2009 after putting down full payment. Managed to get all my money back after quite a bit of effort.

    Reply
Steve says 9 years ago

Joey

Did you speak to the local authority ? You will find you answer there. Get your money back until you have done your basic due dilligence.

My opinion is you should not touch it. The land is Green Belt. It has little or no chance of development. You are paying well over the market value for Green belt land with little or no chance of development. If you ever have to liquidate without planning you will need someone like you who believes the sales pitch to buy it from you or you will lose your investment. Ask any UKLI investor.

Every Land Banking company says “when”. They should say its a very very big “IF”. So far zero UK land plot coversions by JSI and any other UK land plot companies operating in Singapore. One company just moved their minimum timeline out to 10 years from estimated 3 years they were advertising on CNA two years ago.

But that is my opinion.

You need to do your own research and stop relying on others to make your choices for you. Some people need to expereince pain to learn. Maybe you are one of them.

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joey says 9 years ago

Hi,

Wondering if any of you had committed to Water Orton-Jardin Smith deal? Pls share your views. Would also like to hear from those who paid the 10% deposit but decided to withdraw, kindly share your experience whether you had been successful in getting back your deposit or not.

Thanks so much.

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    BP says 9 years ago

    i agree with Steve that you should never touch green belt land/UK land.

    if you are truly interested in land, you should look at Canadian land. Let me know if you are keen to take a look at our current project.

    Reply
Sam says 9 years ago

Anybody wants to resume discussion on water orton and jardin smith? Seems like they have been trying to sell that piece of land since jan 2009?

I am checking if this is good investment to pursue..

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    Joey says 9 years ago

    Hi,

    With reference to Belinda’s post on 2 Dec 2009, unfortunately, I am in the same situation. Made a 10% deposit last weekend and due to pay the 90% end of this week. After reading all these and some other posts on the internet, I would like to withdraw from the deal.

    Can anyone advise on this, especially on how to get a full refund on the deposit paid?

    thanks in advance.

    Reply
Charles says 9 years ago

Hi All of you that posted queries on Water Orton and Jardin Smith. Any advise cos I went to a presentation a few days ago, but did not sign up yet.

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Belinda says 9 years ago

hi PCDS,

so meaning ya intend to pay the bal 90% today? or ya managed to withdraw and take back your deposit?

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Belinda says 9 years ago

hi,
I have also attended jardin smith exhibition and paid 10% deposit for a plot of land at Water Orton Birmingham UK. However, after assessing the risk factor, I have my reservation and wanted to cancel off the whole deal. JSL did not mention to us that the land is currently under green belt area.

Can anyone advise me whether there is any ways I can get my 10% deposits back? Any help will be greatly appreicated. Thanks.

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    PCDS says 9 years ago

    Gosh… me too, i juz attended the event at Ritz Carlton on Sunday and paid by credit card the 10% deposit. Need to be at their office today to pay up the balance 90%. There is no indication how those who paid deposit should do if they decide to withdrawal. Obviously they will not put such negative statement.

    Reply
      belinda says 9 years ago

      so meaning ya intend to pay the bal 90% today? or ya managed to withdraw and take back your deposit?

      Reply
        Sam says 9 years ago

        hi belinda,

        did u get your 10% deposit back?

        Reply
Steve says 9 years ago

If i were making such an investment I would check with the Planning Department UK local authority responsible for Water Orton before investing to find out the current status of the land.

http://www.northwarks.gov.uk/

Also you may wish to check with the UK land registry on the original purchase price of the land to understand its open market resale value without planning permission.

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/

This would give you some approximate value for the land should you have to sell it without planning permission. Remember the price you pay may have no relationship to the current market value.

As with any land banking investment identify the written and contractual statements related to any committment being made to you on future development or planning activity. Be very careful of vague promises. You need to understand the real chance of the land being converted in any meaningful timeframe.

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lioninvestor says 9 years ago

For those still interested in UK land banking, please read about the dangers here:

http://www.martinlee.sg/uk-land-banking/

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Kenny says 9 years ago

Hi everybody, I am really interested in JSI’s Water Orton Birmingham UK offer. Really need all the advice from you all to share, good or bad. I still have a few days to think and sign up the deal this weekend. Hope to hear from you all fast. Thank you very much.

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Enen says 9 years ago

Hi, I am interested in Jardin Smith’s offer too, any insight to share?

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riani says 9 years ago

hi, like suannee & richard, i’m also interested. appreciate your advice, please. Thanks.

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Suannee Lim says 9 years ago

Dear Sir,
I am about to invest my Sin $30,000 into a Water Orton, Birmingham UK project via landbanking JardinSmithInternational in Singapore.
What risks must I be aware of ?
Thankyou.

Reply
    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Hi Suannee,

    Sent an email to you.

    Reply
    Richard says 9 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    Like Suzanne, I am also interested in Water Orton, Birmingham UK.

    What is your advice?

    Richard

    Reply
Newcomer says 9 years ago

How can we be sure if the company is truely reliable for landbanking? What website can we check whether they had bought the plot and submit for planning permission?

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    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Hi newcomer,

    the local council will publish all applicants as well as the status on their website. This part is fairly transparent and you compare what they say versus what the land banking companies are telling you.

    Note that submitting a proposal for planning permission does not automatically means it will be approved.

    Reply
Charles says 10 years ago

The UK Land Registry is responsible for registering and maintaining land records in England and Wales. They rarely issue opinions on commercial matters however the following press release recently came out 15th January. I have previously seen land banking companies in Singapore mention banks in their marketing as well.

UK Land registry publishes warning on land bank “investment” schemes.
http://www1.landregistry.gov.uk/about_us/pressoffice/notices/default.asp?article_id=19829

Land Registry has published a guide warning against so-called land banking investment schemes which are often advertised as offering big returns on investments in land.

The government department says many investors have handed over thousands of pounds for land that has little or no chance of being developed.

Plots of land are offered for sale, often online, and sometimes with the claim that there will be huge returns when planning permission is obtained for housing or other development. But the land is usually in areas protected from development by planning law.

Those operating land banking schemes often claim that they have well known banks, other lending institutions and established developers as their partners in the schemes when this is not the case.

Land Registry Head of Corporate Legal Services Mike Westcott Rudd said:

“Members of the public have been misled about the prospects of obtaining planning permission or that planning permission has already been granted.”

“Sometimes they are told well known banks, lenders and established developers are partners in the schemes when this is not the case.”

“In some extreme cases forged Land Registry letters have been produced to suggest that there is official Land Registry planning approval. However, Land Registry plays no part in the planning process.”

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joanna says 10 years ago

Hi Tim,
I have run through a lot of your postings and it seemed that you are targetting in particular Land Int and its other companies. I have also seen a reply from one William about you disgruntlement with LI and that you are an ex-staff of LI. Care to clarify? As a neutral person, it will do me a great favour. Your company and tel no was also posted in the net. Why out to confuse us?

Joanna

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Tim says 10 years ago

They have the same Managing Director Simon Beh.

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lioninvestor says 10 years ago

Hi Tim,

How do you know Land International and Oil Estates are operated by the same people?

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Tim says 10 years ago

Hi Lioninvestor,
http://www.oilestates.com http://www.landintfe.com Sherwood Henderson International are all part of the Land International Group which is now selling the same scam land at Gatwick through the http://www.landwealthcentre.com

They have been closed down in the UK by the FSA but are still operating in Asia

NEWS: Land International Far East
Four companies operating from Cheltenham and selling plots of agricultural land have been closed down by the High Court following an investigation by the Companies Investigation Branch of the Insolvency Service.

The companies began trading in early 2004 by purchasing land in greenbelt areas across England, which were then sub-divided into plots of typically 400 – 500 square metres. In excess of 700 plots were sold in this way to the public.

Potential investors in South East Asia were also targeted through Land International (Far East) Limited. The common directors for the four companies were Michael John Morris and Stephen Nicholas Meissner.

The investigation found that during the sales process, prospective investors were told by the companies sales agents that the selling company in question would be seeking to obtain planning permission on their behalf, with the accompanying sales literature disclosing that separate management companies would be set up to deal with planning permission on behalf of plot owners at each site. In reality there was no prospect of planning permission being obtained.
All four companies failed to maintain adequate accounting records. Land International Limited had failed to file any accounts since incorporation in 2003, missing statutory deadlines for filing accounts for its first three accounting periods. This failure to maintain adequate accounting records assisted in attempts to mask the extent of the companies’ trading activities including to properly account for their corporation tax liabilities. Applying the average plot selling price to the plots sold suggested that the total revenue would have been in excess of £10million.

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Realtor says 11 years ago

I’ve learned that for any land-banking investmets one must always exercise “DUE DILIGENCE” so what I eventually found out is the word …..ACCREDITATION STANDARDS “BBB” or Better Business Bureau especially in land investments in US & Canada whereas I’ve no idea about UK Accreditation Standards if any?

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Tim says 11 years ago

Hi
I think its the same scam team changing spots the director is the same and all the offices in Asia match ?

Tim

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lioninvestor says 11 years ago

Hi Tim,

I wrote about this earlier:

http://www.martinlee.sg/uk-land-investments-to-be-liquidated/

Not too sure where oil estates figure in all these. They could have taken over the office space.

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Tim says 11 years ago

Hi Mike,
I just found this on the web, is this company Land International Far East connected to Oil Estates they share the same office addresses???

Insolvency Bulletin
Provisional Liquidator Appointed to Land-banking Company

LAND INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
LAND INTERNATIONAL (UK) LIMITED
LAND INTERNATIONAL (MARKETING) LIMITED
LAND INTERNATIONAL (FAR EAST) LIMITED
The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has presented a petition in the High Court to wind up the above companies in the public interest.

The companies were involved in the acquisition of agricultural land, which was then sub-divided and sold to the public as an investment. They operated from an office at 6 St Georges Street, Cheltenham GL50 4AF.

The petitions were presented following an investigation carried out by BERR’s Companies Investigation Branch under Section 447 of the Companies Act 1985. The petitions are listed for hearing on 5 March 2008.

The case is now subject to High Court action and no further information will be made available until the petitions are heard in the High Court on 5 March 2008.

Notes to editors
1. The registered office of all the companies save Land International (Far East) Limited are at 6 St Georges Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4AF. The registered office of Land International (Far East) Limited is at 1 St Georges Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4AF.
2. The petition was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986. The Official Receiver was appointed provisional liquidator of the companies on 23 January 2008. A provisional liquidator is appointed by the court to protect the assets of a company after a petition has been presented.
3. The Insolvency Service carries out confidential enquiries on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform through Companies Investigation Branch.
4. The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. The Service also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession; deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures; assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees; provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds; and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
5. All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the companies should be made to The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3SS. Email: [email protected] Public Enquiries: 0207 637 1110
6. Further information about the work of The Insolvency Service is available from http://www.insolvency.gov.uk

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mike says 11 years ago

A couple of insights on the planning process in the UK.

As said it is a process and thus can take sometime. An application can only made once the the Council’s core strategy is out..This provides details on the requirement of land by the council.

This happens as in the UK over 90% of the land is in private hands. Thus the govt rarely can mandate development. What the do to control the process is thru the issuance of planning permissions for suitable projects.

A benefit of this is when the land gets planning it value can increase by anything from 300 to a 1000 percent.

Investors can thus benefit by purchasing strategically located and getting it rezoned under the core strategy.

There are several criteria to look for but basically it has to be sustainable ;ie there must be infrastructure around it like transportation, schools ,pubs etc. A full information can be found under the Planning Policy Strategy papers available at the govt’s Communities and Govt website.

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lioninvestor says 11 years ago

Hi James,

Thanks for the direct link to the email.

Looks like the covenant was a fine (and critical) detail that might be missed out.

Something for the lawyers to work on.

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Tony T says 11 years ago

Many councils are not as advanced as Colchester. Councils do generally have to make the documents available for inspection but this would normally be in in the local council offices. This is usually good enough as it is generally locals that are interested.

Here is a couple for you. I’ll be happy to help look others out if you have people interested.

Hounslow
http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/index/environment_and_planning/planning_dev_control

Nafferton
http://www.eastriding.gov.uk/PublicAccess731c/tdc/DcApplication/application_searchform.aspx

If you can’t find something my limited experience to date is that if you write to them by post or email they will respond within a reasonable time frame.

I think your opinion is valid. There may be an occasional “black swan” event that would cause an unexpected planning approval to occur but typically planning for houses and hotels is done well in advance and the local players involved know what is likely to happen and likely to be approved. This will be reflected in the sale value of the land asset now and in the future.

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    Sweety says 9 years ago

    Hi Tony,

    i’ve heard the cities that you mention. Colchester,nafferton and hounslow, It seem like Profitable Plots company that operate in Singapore. Are you from PP?

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Tony Tween says 11 years ago

People seem to be confused by the planning process in England. Land ownership does not change anything without planning permission (or Zoning for people more familiar with the US) .

You can formally ask planning permission for anything. Asking does not confer any value on the land unless the answer is likely to be yes. Unfortunately some people keep asking the same thing even when there is no chance of success for reasons that are not always to do with getting planning permission.

This may be different from Singapore where perhaps people assume that formally being in process with the Government over land means a “yes” is likely.

I can see why it might be confusing to a foreigner and many of us Brits think that allowing spurious planning claims on land is a waste of taxpayers money.

The UK process is public and you are free to ask any question you want. As an example, Colchester has one of the most transparent online planning systems. You can follow the process, ask questions, make comments and make your own decisions. You can also see who is for and against it and why.

http://www.planning.colchester.gov.uk/WAM/findCaseFile.do?appNumber=073130

If your readers are thinking about investing it is probably a reasonable question for you to ask your land company the number of the planning application and write to the council concerned and ask them for details on the application.

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Jardin Smith International | Den of The Lion Investor says 11 years ago

[…] Tomorrow, I will write about some of the things you need to be aware of if you are investing in UK land. […]

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