Three key checks to see if your site has development potential

How do you know if your site is suitable for a new housing development? There’s clearly a lot to consider, but there are three simple checks you can make that will help you decide whether it might be possible.

Is the principle of a housing development likely to be acceptable?

The first thing to consider is whether the principle of new homes on your site will be acceptable to the council.

The starting point for deciding whether to approve a planning application is always the Local Plan. The Local Plan sets out what types of development are allowed in which locations. It might identify your site for a particular type of use, or place other restrictions on what it can be redeveloped for.

The approach to getting planning permission will need to be slightly different depending on the type of site. In previous posts we’ve explained how to tackle the three most common types of site: greenfield, brownfield and Green Belt. Take a look at those articles to see whether you think there is a case for new homes on your site.

The council don’t just think about the principle of new homes on a site. They also have to consider whether the development of the site will be technically deliverable. Is there anything that means homes wouldn’t be capable of being built? There are lots of different factors to consider, but there are two critical ones to check before you spend too much time preparing a planning application.

How will the site be accessed?

Sometimes it is obvious where a site will be accessed from. For example, it might have an existing access from a road. Even if it does look obvious, though, there are still some things to double check. For example, does your site immediately adjoin the road or is there a different ownership in between? Is there enough room to fit a new access, including providing clear views of the road for emerging traffic?

In other cases, it might be less obvious. If a site is currently accessed through a neighbouring field, for example, it might mean that additional land will be needed so that you can access a development on your site. Sometimes, that can even mean buying and demolishing existing houses to provide a way in.

How will the site be drained?

Draining sites effectively is becoming more and more of a challenge. The surface water from a site (so the rain that lands on roads, roofs and gardens) has to be drained in a sustainable way. That means that, ideally, it should be directed into a nearby stream or river but at a rate that won’t make other areas more likely to flood. That can mean providing large ponds or underground tanks to temporarily store rain water during heavy downpours. Like with a road access, it can also mean getting the agreement of neighbours to drain water into streams in land that they own.

And then everything else…

When you’ve worked through those three key points, you’ll have a good idea as to whether it will be possible to actually deliver a development on your site. Then you’ll need to think about all the other factors that the council will take into account too. These can include: landscape impacts, ecology, noise, air quality, agricultural land quality, heritage issues, flood risk, ground contamination, infrastructure requirements (like improvements to the road network or the provision of new schools, doctors surgeries or parks), how many homes can fit on the site and what the design of the houses will be.

Working through all of these detail is expensive and needs a lot of specialist knowledge. That’s one of the reasons why so many land owners choose to work with a land promoter like The Strategic Land Group. We work with land owners to deliver planning permission on their behalf at our cost and risk. Our return is a share of the value of the site once it is sold. If we don’t succeed, it doesn’t cost you anything.

If you have a site that you think might benefit from our approach, get in touch with us today for a free, no obligation assessment.

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