5 considerations for developers on out-of-town green or brownfield sites

We like to help our Developer clients to find creative solutions to overcome the challenges of evaluating out-of-town green or brownfield sites at the feasibility and the design stage of their schemes. Early consultation with all parties at an initial stage, will ensure that any fundamental issues which can cause significant costs, delays or even halt developments later down the line are highlighted early. Here’s a list of 5 considerations for Developers and Homebuilders when it comes to out-of-town green or brownfield sites:

1.   Features and Uses – You may be able to use the areas of existing buildings to your advantage in any permitted development calculations that you may be making. Be aware of previous or current uses that may be sources of contamination as this will require soil investigations, possible removal of large quantities of earth, and expensive remedial measures. If you can, it is useful to carry out due diligence on rights of way, easements, restrictive covenants, and underground or high-level services.

2.   Access arrangements – It is important to assess the vehicular and pedestrian access to the site and to the ease by which vehicles and pedestrians will be able to move about a completed development. You may be required to provide on-site parking, and access for both refuse vehicles and fire-tenders. Along with access, you should look at how the site adjoins any supply roads. Will vehicles be able to safely enter and leave the site? Will the access road be too close to an existing junction? You should also assess whether construction traffic can feasibly enter and leave the site and whether there is room for the contractor’s facilities during the works. Don’t forget these details, at this early stage, as they may come back to cause problems when you are wanting to start the works.

3.   Ecology – Both green and brownfield sites may be homes to protected species and you should budget for appropriate surveys and reports. Depending on the findings you may find that pre-construction work must be carried out to protect or rehome certain species.

4.   Flood and water management. – Early understanding of whether the site is liable to flooding is vital when assessing a site’s use. If the site is in Flood Zone 2 or worse, you may have to raise habitable rooms from the ground floor or worse, not be allowed residential development at all. Another consideration is how to get wastewater off the site. This will include foul water, rainwater, and surface water. Will attenuation pools or tanks be required?

5.   Neighbouring buildings – When you assess the site, bear in mind the built context. Will there be overlooking to or from the site? Can you develop without damaging daylighting to adjacent buildings and, similarly, will there be any rights of light issues? Are the uses of the adjacent buildings suitable for your development e.g., will you get permission for housing next to a noisy mechanics workshop?

We work with developers and landowners to maximise the potential of their sites and increase their ROI. The developments range from 9 units to upwards of 50 units and often include areas of other uses such as commercial, retail, and F&B. We have excellent working relationships with a range of trusted consultants and suppliers and can advise on all aspects of these developments; from feasibility stage through to completion. We have developed an efficient and accurate site viability programme to assist developers and landowners evaluate their sites and this is offered at feasibility stage.

If you want to discuss a feasibility study or any plans/schemes that might need adapting, get in touch and I will organise a virtual coffee and an informal chat on a Zoom call. We can talk about your site or building, and how to get the most from it.


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