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Appendix 1

Guidance Note for Assessing the Robustness of Marketing Campaigns

1. Method of sale
Where a site is being sold, the method used should reflect the property to be sold and should take into account factors such as location, size, planning status and value. The method of sale will also have a bearing on how other sections of the questionnaire should be answered (e.g. 4. Time spent on Market and 9. Contents of Information Pack Provided).
For example:
  1. Private Treaty – Applicable for sites where a large amount of due diligence work is required (not time specific).
  2. Auction – Applicable for small sites with or without planning permission where a quick sale is required and there may be issues on title, access etc.
  3. Informal Tender – Applicable for larger sites being sold by public sector bodies, with or without planning permission. It enables a quick sale as a defined timetable is in place from commencement of the marketing period.
  4. Formal Tender – Applicable for sites with planning permission and where there are no other outstanding issues. Exchange occurs on acceptance of submitted offers.
2. Published advertisements
Advertisements should be placed in relevant specialist publications or in the case of local advertising, the specialist columns within the newspaper/magazine. The number of advertisements should be relative to the size and value of the site, with national advertisements for larger sites that might appeal to national developers and regional adverts to bring the site to the attention of the local developers. The size and position of the adverts will depend on the property, with the larger and more valuable sites demanding greater advertising presence and exposure to the market. The site details should be clear and accurate and a photo or plan of the site should be included.
3. Single advert or group?
Ideally, properties should be advertised on their own to ensure that they receive the necessary market saturation. A number of properties listed on an advert as ‘for sale/lease’ will not get the same level of exposure as they would if individually placed. At the very least where properties are advertised in a group, each property or site should have a suitable picture or plan along with key details.
4. Time spent on market (in months)
The time a property should spend on the market will be dictated by a number of things including;
  • Where the site/premises is being sold, the method of sale; for private treaty sales there is no limit on the time the site can spend on the market, to the other extreme it is not unusual for an auction site to be on the market for two months. In the case of auction, formal and informal tender the timescale will be fixed by the deadline/auction date stated in the particulars.
  • Market conditions. Generally speaking in a buoyant market when demand is high the length of time needed to fully test the market will be less than when economic conditions are more difficult. Marketing should normally take place for a period of between six months and two years.
  • Location. Sites/premises that are in a marginal or off-pitch location are likely to require a longer period in order to provide the site with the required exposure to the widest possible market.
In every case, a sufficient amount of time should be allowed for the agents to undertake a rigorous marketing campaign and give potential purchasers/leasers time to assess the site, undertake any necessary due diligence and submit a compliant offer.
5. Please provide details of any site boards erected (including the location plan, photographs, wording etc.).
Site boards identify the available property and provide a level of exposure for the site that is difficult to achieve in any other way. For this reason a site board would be expected to be erected for the majority of sites.
These boards should be in clear view and large enough for the details to be seen from the road. The details included on the site board should include the name of the agents, a contact number, current site use and area. These details should be accurate with particular attention being paid to planning use. Information should reflect the availability of the premises/site for employment purposes, including redevelopment.
6. Please attach a brochure to the pro-forma as an example.
The quality of brochures will vary from site to site but they must be accurate and attempt to provide the most important information in a clear and structured way. A photograph or plan of the property should be included and clearly indicate the property to be sold. If a sample brochure is not provided with the form then further enquires should be made in order to obtain a copy. At the least every site should have a set of particulars on a simple side of A4 with details as set out in 8 below.
7. Number of brochures sent in mail shot
A mail shot should target the most likely purchasers or users of the property and is an effective way of initiating the marketing campaign and generating interest.
The number of brochures sent will depend on the site but a guide range of 250 - 400 brochures sent in the mail shot to selected parties (local and national agents, developers, local businesses etc.) would achieve a good level of exposure to the right market.
8. Details provided in the brochure (if not attached) – please document the date of brochure, all headings, photos and detail of wording etc.
The brochures should contain sufficient information to inform a potential purchaser or lessee of the most important points regarding the property. Whether this is achieved will be apparent on reading but they should include as a minimum:
  • The Opportunity - This should be a brief summary of information set out in the brochure;
  • Location of the Property - This should state the proximity of the site to major transport links (‘A’ roads, mainline train stations), urban centres and general setting of the property (e.g. what the surrounding/predominant uses in the area are). An A-Z plan clearly indicating the location of the property should also be included;
  • Description - The description of the property should include the approximate date of construction of buildings on site, number/size of buildings on site and type of construction;
  • Method of Sale - The marketing particulars should provide details of the proposed method of sale and tender or auction dates (if applicable);
  • Services – What are there mains services existing on site?;
  • Town planning – A brief and accurate description of the current permitted use for the property/ site should be provided, as well as any potential future uses; and
  • Inspections and enquiries – Contact details (name, telephone number and email) and instructions for receiving the information pack, should be provided.
The brochure will be one of the main marketing tools for a site and its effectiveness will be down to its accuracy and ability to convey the most important information on the site to a potential purchaser in a clear and succinct manner.
Any inaccuracies in the details or missed information in the brochure should be noted.
9. Information pack provided?
The information pack should, at the most basic level include: a full Report on Title (including legal searches and service plans), floor plans (where relevant), site plans, planning permissions or correspondence and further information on how to submit offers.
Other documents included in a comprehensive information pack would be: a land  quality assessment, transport surveys, conservation surveys, draft contracts and copies of any leases or licences currently in place on the site.
All the information the freeholder has on the site should be made available to a potential purchaser or lessee and the information should be specific to the site.
10. What is the cost of the information pack to potential bidders?
Best practice would be to provide an information pack electronically to be downloaded free of charge. This may not be possible and if this is the case a hardcopy of the information pack should be made available. The cost of this information pack will vary but should cost no more than c. £100-£150.
11. Have local development agencies, local authorities and other economic generation companies been informed of this site? (Please name company and date.)
Any relevant Development/Regeneration agencies should be informed of the site as part of the marketing strategy as a matter of course. This may take the form of a brochure being sent as part of the mailshot. Details of relevant agencies can be obtained from Planning Services.
12. Have full details of the planning use/potential use been provided? Were the details accurate when compared to the uses that were proposed and any offers received?
A realistic approach by the vendor or lessor to potential alternative uses must be taken when marketing a site (i.e. planning references in the advert, brochure, and website). Advice from the Local Planning Authority or any permissions, applications or appeal letters made/obtained prior to marketing should be included in the information pack.
13. Was the Internet used as an advertising initiative? (Give details of website, information available, picture, video clip etc.)
A number of internet property listing sites are available to vendors (Focus, Estates Gazette, Propex), these provide an easily accessible and searchable resource for potential occupiers/ developers.
The marketing agents should have included the property details on either their website or at least one web based property search site to achieve sufficient market exposure.
14. Please provide details of any additional advertising initiatives not covered above.
Any further advertising initiatives would indicate a strong intention to gain further exposure for the site. These must however, be relevant to the site and may consist of activities such as: sending brochures to local businesses, a public awareness campaign, local / national press releases or public consultation exercises.
15. Please provide details on responses to the marketing campaign (where applicable).
Details in response to this question will have to be assessed with regard to the site in question. If for example, all the responses and offers following a marketing campaign require a change of use to a non-employment use, the initial planning information may have been incorrect.
16. Please provide details on responses to the marketing campaign (where applicable).
The offers received should be reviewed bearing in mind the method of sale (where appropriate) and the marketing timescales. All the information requested should be supplied by the applicant including whether the offer was in writing (in which case copies will be required) or verbal only. Ideally, the offers should be grouped together and match the guidelines in the brochure/ information pack.
For conditional and unconditional offers, a commercial judgement must be made to assess which is the more favourable offer. An offer made conditional on the purchaser obtaining planning permission for instance will include a considerable amount of planning risk to the vendor.
Unconditional offers are not dependant on any other requirements / unresolved issues and are more robust. Where two offers similar in price are submitted, but one is conditional and the other unconditional, the latter would usually be accepted as it carries significantly less risk. Comparison between offers should bear this in mind.
If offers have been submitted within c. 10% of the guide price (or, where a site is being sold, the market value of the site) and there are no other issues, then it is reasonable to assume that a vendor or lessor keen to dispose of the site will sell or lease at that price.
If no offers were submitted, then the marketing campaign may have been at fault in some way.
17. Was a guide price / reserve provided?
A guide price is not a pre-requisite for marketing a site but where one is given, it should be based on the current (or last) use. What this question aims to illustrate is how close the guide is to the offers received. If the guide price is out by 10% or more either way this should be noted as it may indicate that an unrealistic guide for the property has been given.
In another situation, the offers submitted might be lower than the guide price but grouped together. If in this situation the vendor is still reluctant to sell, then an overambitious and inaccurate guide price may have been supplied intentionally in an attempt to inflate the sale price.
Any grouping (or lack of) between the offers should be noted and looked at with reference to the guide price.
A similar view should be taken in auction sales where an unrealistic reserve may prevent a sale.
Applicants should not be penalised for not supplying a guide price in their marketing campaign.
18. Pre-application discussions
The Council welcomes pre-application discussions to scope and agree the format of any marketing campaign undertaken to provide necessary evidence to support a change of use application.

Form to be completed by Applicant

Please state name and contact details of applicant

Please state address of property being assessed

If the site is being sold, method of sale Yes / No
Private treaty  
Informal tender  
Formal tender  
Published advertisements
Please attach copy of advertisement  
Total number of advertisements  
Details of Publication Local/Regional/National Size Date
Was the property set individually or as a group?

Time spent on the market (in months)

Please provide details of any site boards erected (including a location plan, photograph, wording etc.)

Please attach a brochure to this proforma as an example

Please state the number of brochures sent in initial mailshot

Details provided in the brochure (if not attached) – please document date of brochure, all headings, photos, detail of wording etc.

Information pack provided? (Yes / No)

Please list exact contents of the information pack (names and dates of documents e.g. Report on Title, Land Quality Assessment, Transport surveys)

What was the cost of the information pack to potential bidders?

Have local development agencies, local authorities and other economic generation companies been informed of the site? (Please name company and date)

Have full details of the planning use/potential use been provided? Were the details accurate when compared to the uses proposed in any offers received?

Was the internet used as an advertising initiative? (Give details of website, information available, picture, video clip etc.)

Please provide details of any other additional advertising initiatives not covered above

Please provide details on the responses to the marketing campaign (where applicable).
Brochures requested
Telephone enquiries
Hits on website
Please provide numbers and details of any offers / bids received. Attach copies of written offers.
Date Company Price Proposed use Subject to

Was a guide price / reserve provided? Yes / No

If YES, at what level?

Was this accurate when compared to offers / bids submitted? Yes / No

Was pre-application advice obtained regarding the scope and detail of the marketing campaign for this site? If so, please attach details. Please provide detailed information on any other mitigating circumstances that will have affected the marketing of this particular site.

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