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CAN LAND SITES BE RECLASSIFIED?

We’re coming at you today with an interesting article around land classification. In the UK, land sites will be given one of three broad classifications – either Green Belt, Greenfield or Brownfield.

Green Belt land sites fall under the protection of the Green Belt in the UK. The Green Belt was brought into being following World War II as a means of preventing urban sprawl across the country – in other words, stopping towns and cities spreading too far into the countryside and harming Britain’s green spaces. The protection still stands to this day and protects a range of land from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), National Parks, areas containing trees and wildlife under environmental protection, and more.

Greenfield land sites are sites that have had no prior development and have typically been used for either agricultural or leisure purposes. Often, they can be found adjacent to existing settlements and this can make them strategic in nature. Due to their undeveloped nature, often they are ‘easier’ to develop as the land will be less likely to be contaminated.

Brownfield sites are most often found in urban locations such as towns and cities. These are pieces of land that have had previous development, whether this be offices or a petrol garage. These can be slightly harder to develop, as they may require investigation to ensure there is no contamination on the site prior to building homes on it, however they can be easier to achieve planning permission on due to recent changes in regulations from the Government, streamlining the process for local authorities to develop on available Brownfield sites.  This type of land is especially useful for alleviating inner city or town housing shortages, as this is readily available land that does not contribute to urban sprawl.

But can the classification of these sites be changed?

The answer to that question is a simple, yes!

While it is highly unlikely that Brownfield land would ever be reclassified as Greenfield due to it’s prior development, it is possible for Greenfield land to be reclassified as both Brownfield and Green Belt.

For example, if the Government or local authority decided to extend the protection of the Green Belt for environmental reasons, it is plausible that Greenfield land sites could therefore be caught up in this extension, therefore becoming a part of the protected Green Belt. Equally, it is arguable that Greenfield land sites could on occasion be re-classified to Brownfield.

The example we can use here is a site in the Buckinghamshire (for clarification, this is NOT a site offered by Intro Crowd), whereby a Greenfield site that had previously been home to a stable block and equestrian facilities was successfully reclassified to Brownfield. The site had originally been submitted for planning and rejected, but upon appeal, the inspector deemed that due to prior usage of the site as equestrian facilities with both stables, a hardstanding and a ménage it fell into the Brownfield category instead.

This is not a common occurrence as it depends entirely on the prior usage of the site. For example, if the site had agricultural buildings on, this reclassification would not occur as these buildings are contiguous with agricultural properties. That said, if the site in question was home to both the farm house and extended buildings, it would be classed as Brownfield.

Confusing though this may be, it could spell good news for any site owners whose Greenfield sites fall into this category, as it could potentially speed up the planning process for any future applications.

To learn more about the information contained within this article, or to find out more about Intro Crowd, please do not hesitate to contact us via telephone on +44 (0)20 7118 4040 or email us at incrowd@introcrowd.com

This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. This article does not amount to an invitation or inducement to buy or sell an investment nor does it solicit any such offer or invitation in any jurisdiction.

In all cases, readers should conduct their own investigation and analysis of the data in the article. Readers are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal and financial advice when considering an investment in strategic land. All statements of opinion and/or belief contained in this article and all views expressed and all projections, forecasts or statements relating to expectations regarding future events represent Intro Crowd’s own assessment and interpretation of information available as at the date of this article.

No responsibility or liability is accepted by Intro Crowd for reliance on the contents of this article.

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