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  • Lisa Gardener

Types of building plot

Bespoke homes can be constructed on a range of sites, and knowing about the opportunities can help you spot land with potential for your project. Here are some of the key options:

Brownfield sites

This is basically previously-developed land that is or once was occupied by a permanent structure. Government policy supports the provision of new housing in such locations, so councils tend to look favourably on plans that have the potential to improve these plots. Plus, on a practical level, services are likely to be in place already.

Demolish & replace

A type of brownfield opportunity where you could knock down an existing building, such as an old bungalow or former non-residential structure, and construct a new (usually bigger and more attractive) home in its place. It's often more cost-effective than tackling a renovation, as VAT can be reclaimed on a new build project.

Infill plots

There's no formal definition of this type of site, but many councils take it to mean a small gap between an otherwise built-up frontage or group of houses. Infilling is usually allowed within settlements' development boundaries - and sometimes outside of these. Gaining consent will be more difficult in zones such as conservation areas.


Contrary to the "backland development" and "garden grabbing" headlines of a few years ago, planners still allow schemes on garden plots - especially in places that are considered to be built-up. You may even be lucky enough to have a large space that could work as a viable site already; or know a friend who is willing to negotiate a fair price.


Depending on the maps marked out in the relevant council's Local Plan, this kind of site might fall within existing built-up area boundaries or it might not. Generally, policies will allow development within this zone - but control it very strictly outside. This undeveloped land is known as greenfield, and will typically only offer housing to serve the needs of agriculture, replacement dwellings and some infill.

Serviced plots

A fairly new option on the market, this term refers to land that's ready to build on - with utilities, highway access and possibly other infrastructure already in place, as well as at least outline planning consent. This route offers the benefit of more certainty over early-stage costs.


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