I should be grateful to receive any help and advice on the following:

Planning permission given for two detached houses on two plots which are reached by an access road. This road is approx. 80 metres long with a further turning area for emergency services etc.

There are two cottages (eastern end of site) at the entrance to the site, who have covenants giving them the right to pass over on foot or vehicle the first 30 yards off the main road. One owner has a garage and drives in approx. 20 yds and turns into the garage. At the extreme western end of the access road/site is a 1970s bungalow, the owners of which own the road and who have to pass over the road to access their bungalow. So, entering the site from the main road onto the access road, one passes on the right, cottage No 1, followed by cottage no 2 – then her garage, next property on right will be house on plot 1, followed by house on plot 2 and then at the end of the site across the full width the 1970s bungalow. The turning area is between Plot 1 and Plot 2.

My question is
1) The sales agreement for the plots included that the vendors would reconstruct/resurface the road, with appropriate drainage in accordance with planning and building regulation requirements.

2) The owners of the other properties have a covenant in their deeds requiring them to contribute towards maintenance of the road. However, I understand that the works to be undertaken are not classed as maintenance and therefore they do not have to contribute, even if asked, and it unlikely the owners would agree to a contribution even though the road is in a pretty bad state at that end.

Therefore, if the purchasers of the plots construct their houses, complete with their own individual drive area to their garage which is attached to each house and lay the new road, each paying 50% of the cost will they be able to claim back the VAT at the end of the build.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • Mark Brinkley

    You are essentially making good an old track and this would normally qualify as hard landscaping required to build the houses, and this is zero-rated work. I anticipate this work would probably be carried out by a subcontractor and it would be up to you to ensure that their work is zero-rated because you can’t reclaim VAT on labour nor on supply and fix contracts. If the subbie is uneasy about it, then you would have to seek qualification from HMRC themselves.

  • Dorothy Congreave

    Thank you for your response. Just to clarify, the existing access road is more of a road than a farm track. It was laid by the previous owners of the land to reach their property (the bungalow at the far western end) and other buildings which previously stood on the site. Its not in very good shape and very hit and miss with bits of filling all over it and obviously made much worse by heavy builder’s merchants lorries currently visiting the site. Soakaways are to be installed and gulleys etc and the existing road planed and professionally tarmacked. The manoeuvring part will be laid as a new part of the road. Does this still fit with your response.

    Thanks again for your help.

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