Guide to Development Plot Types

Today we’re going to give you a whistle-stop tour of the main plot types you can (and can’t!) develop on. Each of these plot types have their own unique pros, cons and things to investigate before considering them for your project.

There are a wide range of planning considerations to consider before handing over your hard-earned cash for a plot of land you ultimately hope to develop.

If a plot already has planning permission BINGO you’re almost good to go, however you can also buy a plot without permission – we’d recommend any purchase being subject to you securing consent to build so you don’t end up with land you can’t actually build on.

Demolition and Rebuild

This is one of the most effective ways to gain planning permission for a new house in more rural areas. Demolition and rebuild involves demolishing an existing residential home and replacing it with a newer, relatively ‘like-for-like’ build. It is often important that the residential use of the original building is still valid, so make sure to check up on those crucial details before committing.


This is when a barn or other agricultural building is repurposed into a residential dwelling. Conversions can make beautiful properties, but are often subject to ultra-strict planning regulations, as well as complications in converting from an agricultural to a residential property. Consulting with an experienced professional in planning and development is key to a successful conversion project.

Houses for Rural Businesses

One potential way of gaining planning permission for a brand-new house in the countryside is to develop a house for a rural business. New houses are sometimes permitted when they are instrumental to the success of a rural business like an equestrian centre, livery yard or farm. Having said that, the requirements for the new build are often extremely specific, and you may struggle to gain permission for a property of your desired size or design.

Infill Plots

Infill plots are essentially ‘gaps’ within a street. These may be old gardens or allotments, accesses to properties that have since been developed, or land that has somehow been forgotten about. Garden plots are a branch of infill plots where homeowners have “cut off” an area of their garden. When purchasing a garden plot, be sure to check for restrictive planning permission covenants that the original owner may want to put into place. Backland development is another type of garden plot, but in this case the area for development is at the back of the existing property. Access issues are important to consider here.

Brownfield Land

This is previously developed land that is no longer in use, including areas like old factories or construction sites. Although it’s generally not too difficult to gain planning permission on a brownfield site, make sure to check for contamination if the land was previously used in industry/commercial.

Greenfield Land

Greenfield land is one of the hardest types of plot to gain planning permission on. Any land that has not previously been developed on is classified as greenfield land, and in most cases, there is a presumption against its development.

 Green Belt Land

If you find a site which is within the Green Belt it will not be straightforward to develop.  Gaining planning permission for this type of land can be problematic, however there are some developments which can gain approval.  Always seek advice before progressing the development/purchase of Green Belt land.


Related Content

Of course, the best way to be sure of what you’re letting yourself into is to consult with a planning expert.  This specialist guidance can be invaluable in saving you a great deal of stress and money throughout the whole process.  Take a look at blog on When to Hire a Town Planner our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner.

Please feel free to get in touch today if you have any further questions on the plot types mentioned in this post!

If you’re unsure how to start your search for land take a look at our blog on Planning a Self Build.