The presence of Japanese Knotweed at Treloar Meadow in Alton is a proven fact. So it may well be that the land is worthless to developers, and a potential nightmare of a money-pit for future home owners if housing is built on the land!
The results of the largest ever field trial on the control of Japanese Knotweed, by researchers from Swansea University, has determined that the plant simply cannot be eradicated using physical or chemical means.
Should the development go ahead, future home-owners will face an eternal horticultural battle against the dreaded Knotweed … if they can get a mortgage!
You can read the full BBC article here , which also raises the point that owners would have great difficulty selling their houses in the future!
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has a good advice page about Japanese Knotweed. Firstly, it is an offence to cause Knotweed to grow in the wild. Secondly, the RHS has this to say about the legal situation when buying or selling a property:
Buying And Selling Property
Since 2013, the seller is required to state whether Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is present on their property through a TA6 form – the property information form used for conveyancing. Your conveyancer or solicitor will be able to provide full legal advice, however, here is a summary:
If you are selling, it is your responsibility to check the garden for Japanese Knotweed (bearing in mind that it can die back in winter). The TA6 form asks you to confirm whether your property is affected by Japanese Knotweed and, where it is, to provide a management plan for its eradication from a professional company.
If you are buying, the presence of Japanese Knotweed will be stated in the responses to the TA6 form. This often results in your mortgage lender requiring assurances that it will be eradicated before agreeing the funds. A management plan by a professional eradication company, backed by a transferable guarantee, is usually sufficient. It is most common for this plan to be provided by the seller before the purchase is completed.
Whether a buyer or seller, it is also worth being pro-active and checking the property for Japanese Knotweed. Disputes over the identity of a plant, the failure to disclose its presence, or the lack of a management plan can result in delays, increased costs later in the buying process, or even a possible misrepresentation claim after the sale, so this approach will help avoid problems.
The huge problem now for Housing Developers at Treloar Meadow, in Alton, is that they are responsible for eradicating the Knotweed before selling any properties, but the Swansea University field trial proves that Knotweed can’t be eradicated!
That’s a conundrum that no Developer should want to take on!
We’ll publish a lot more on this subject in the future, but let’s just categorically state that the land at Treloar Meadow in Alton is worthless to Developers, and will probably end up costing them money!