Homes were advertised as being “now available” even though they were on a development that did not exist and had not even received planning permission.
Redrow Homes, based in Camberley, Surrey, featured an image of two houses on its website.
Text over the image said: “This development is coming soon. Register your interest today!”
Further wording said: “2, 3, 4 & 5 BEDROOM HOMES NOW AVAILABLE … Conveniently located just to the south-west of Cheltenham, within easy reach of both the town and the M5, Brizen View is perfectly placed for you and your family.
“With a magnificent collection of four and five bedroom homes from the Heritage Collection, this is exclusive, executive living at its best.”
The advert drew a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority that it was misleading.
Redrow agreed that the site did not have planning permission, but believed it would soon be granted. Redrow had submitted a full planning application to Cheltenham Borough Council for 376 homes.
Redrow also produced a document prepared by Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester Councils, called Strategic Allocation, which was with the Secretary of State and would be subject to a public inquiry.
The developers said the document detailed land allocated for residential development in the three boroughs, including the Redrow site.
The ASA upheld the complaint, saying people would believe from the advert that planning permission had been granted. This would impact on whether the consumer made a transactional decision, such as registering their interest, as the advert invited them to do.
The advert has been banned.