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Building On Brownfield Could Help Make Your Self Build Dream Come True

Roof of house with scaffolding

Abandoned land that has been previously used for industrial, commercial, or agricultural purposes could be the answer to making your dream self build project come true.

Rather than greenfield space, which is becoming more and more difficult to come by, developers can choose disused sites for building, which would help improve the aesthetics of a neighbourhood and reduce negative impact on the environment.

The government pledge to create 300,000 new homes per year could also be more feasible by considering brownfield sites. Not to mention how it falls in with the new ‘build build build‘ announcements to upgrade Britain’s infrastructure.

Building on brownfield sites ticks lots of boxes.

What is a brownfield site?

Industrial, commercial, or agricultural land that is no longer in use. A brownfield site could’ve been home to a petrol station, storage units, or a factory or warehouse.

Derelict mill

It’s these structures that can be done-up or demolished to make way for new developments. Barn conversions are excluded in most circumstances, as are replacement dwellings and garden plots.

What’s a brownfield register?

Research shows that only 31% of potential self builders are aware of brownfield registers. Since 2017 local authorities have been required to keep a list of all land suitable for residential redevelopment – a brownfield site must be capable of delivering at least five extra dwellings and be free from ownership issues or legal constraints – to help self builders easily find these sites.

What are the pros and cons of considering a brownfield site as a self builder?

With 28% of developers being interested in reducing their environmental impact through self build, building on a brownfield site, compared to a greenfield site, is the obvious choice. Rather than jeopardising local green spaces, which are essential in capturing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere, building on brownfield preserves those essential areas like meadows and rivers. 

Demolition of building

By taking down an old derelict building, and rebuilding something new, developers are contributing to a more attractive landscape. Clearing what was probably an eye sore for the community, revamping brownfield sites satisfies the government’s ‘build build build’ promises. 

Self build stress often comes from navigating and successfully submitting planning applications, but building on brownfield means dealing with a far less complicated process. Though, would-be developers will need to factor in a survey being carried out to calculate the risk of potential issues associated with the land’s previous use such as contamination. 

How will using a brownfield site affect my mortgage?

Major renovations and rebuilds are often classified as self build by mortgage lenders, and so self builders on brownfield sites will need a self build mortgage. It could be beneficial to speak to an intermediary experienced in self build mortgage applications, to avoid coming up against providers who may potentially be hesitant to lend on self build or brownfield sites. Lenders who use a manual approach for assessing affordability may also stand self builders in good stead, as they are able to look at each application on a case-by-case basis.

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