Infill is commonly used as a descriptive term for plots in urban / village settings that take up a gap in the ‘street scene’ rather than expanding beyond the town / village itself. Planners tend to frown upon extending the settlement boundary and refer to this as ‘ribbon development’.
It’s worth noting that, just because a plot is infill doesn’t mean that planners will necessarily agree to it being developed. There are plenty of examples of open spaces or fields which have been circled by development within a village or town that may appear ideal for building on. The Government is keen to use up any of these empty patches of land within settlements before expanding to more open areas, however local governments are generally just as adamant about keep these areas open.
There are two kinds of infill plots:
Land with no current use that tends to be hidden from view by walls / fences, allowing the street scene to go on uninterrupted.
Homeowners with large gardens sell off a chunk of their land for development. These were previously classed as brownfield sites but have recently been granted Greenfield status, meaning they are more likely to be approved for development if they meet the area’s needs.
Instead of seeking to fill the road frontage, Backland Development takes place at the rear of an existing property. This can only really occur if the existing plot of land is quite large, but such plots of land can often offer more privacy than that which exists on a standard modern estate. Access can be an issue as it is usually along the side of an existing property, for this reason right of way needs to be clearly defined from the offset.
Land which has had previous planning use which may have ceased. These previous uses can included things like factories, old builders’ yards or even disused petrol stations. Central Government is broadly supportive of Brownfield development so long as all other normal planning permissions are established. It is important to watch out for potential contamination on brownfield sites, especially those which previously saw industrial use.
This land has not been developed on before. The Central Government is generally against development of previously undeveloped land (especially in the countryside), unless it fits in with their specific requirements to provide more housing/infrastructure/new towns.
Green Belt Land
Entirely different from Greenfield land, green belt land’s preservation is granted special legal status. As an overarching and general rule, no new development is allowed on green belt land (unless specifically required by the Government).
Refer to areas of occupied land in which the occupying building (house/bungalow etc.) is substandard and not fit for purpose. In these situations, the existing building can be knocked down and replaced with a better structure more suited for purpose.
Fully Serviced Plots / Custom Homes
Plots of land with service roads and sewers in. In many cases, the services will already be connected into the plots of land, though connection charges may still be required.
The developers of the land will often offer the plots for custom build homes with varying levels of development from prospective homeowners. This can be a great way to get a bespoke home but the drawback is often that there is generally a much more restricted design process involved. A good way to get notification of these plots is to get on the Self Build Register (England) or Self Build Wales scheme.