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Self build and brownfield land – your questions answered

If you have clients who wish to build their own home there are a few options available, including:

  • Buying a plot of land
  • Buying a ‘serviced’ plot of land which usually comes with utilities already connected plus outline planning permission
  • Buying an existing property for extensive renovations and/or extending
  • Buying an existing property for a knock down and rebuild project

When it comes to buying land, since April 2016 local authorities have been required to maintain self build registers and, when suitable land becomes available, to contact interested parties. Less well known but equally as useful are brownfield land registers, introduced a year later and similarly for authorities to provide up to date information on brownfield land suitable for housing.

What is brownfield land?

It is a term used to describe previously developed land, such as formerly in use for commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes.

Is brownfield land suitable for housebuilding?

Yes and no. Basically it depends on the land itself and what it has previously been used for. For example, the land may need work in order to be decontaminated or existing structures demolished. However, just because these sites don’t initially seem as straightforward as building on greenfield land they shouldn’t be dismissed.

Will lenders accept self build cases for brownfield sites?

As long as any contamination from any previous activity has been addressed, the site is suitable for building and has the required access, it is unlikely lenders will look on a brownfield plot any less favourably when submitting a self build mortgage application. The key deciding factor will be the assessment from the valuer that the site is suitable for a residential development.

Where can I see examples of self build on brownfield sites?

The UK’s biggest self build and custom build site, Graven Hill in Bicester, is 188 hectares of former brownfield land which was no longer required by the Ministry of Defence. Now, there is a ten-year plan to create up to 1,900 bespoke new homes. Read more here from Build IT.

Where can I access more information on self build mortgages?

Our online self build hub has all the information and tools you need to help your client with their self build mortgage. You can deal directly with us at every stage and our team of experts have several years of self build experience. Visit the Hub now.

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