Obtaining Planning Permission for Unique Sites

Are you a land owner and you want to either self-build, complete your own development or sell your land with planning approval?

Green belt land planning permission

At ZMA we have a number of sites within greenbelt, open countryside and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across Lancashire and the Ribble Valley. Each site is unique and has its own limitations. What you can do with your land is dependent on the National and Local planning policies associated with the site’s exact location. For example, sometimes sites next to each other or on the same street will have different limitations, one site may lie within a settlement boundary and one site may lie within greenbelt.

It is advisable to contact a qualified consultant to provide you with some initial guidance to understand the development potential, site constraints and likelihood of gaining approval prior to making any planning submissions or even commencing detailed designs. At ZMA we offer a free consultation to all of our enquiries when we will provide you with initial advice on your land or project.

Our client base varies from individual families wanting to build their own bespoke dream homes; farmers wanting to sell land with planning approval; and developers gaining approval for medium to large scale sites.

How much should you pay for land?

The value of a site can vary from £10,000 per acre without planning approval, and from £100,000 per acre with planning approval. Therefore some of our clients with no development experience opt to sell with planning approval.

If you own land which is located within a settlement boundary, or brownfield sites, it is highly likely that planning approval will be gained. However, land within the open countryside or greenbelt, is not as simple.

Obtaining planning permission for isolated dwellings

If you wish to gain approval for one dwelling to build your own home, or to sell with planning approval for 1 dwelling and your site is classed as isolated (located in open countryside, outside the settlement boundary, or not located near to a village or local services), then one or more of the following circumstances needs to apply:

  • There is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;
  • The development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset;
  • The development would re-use redundant or disused buildings, enhancing its immediate setting;
  • The development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential dwelling; or
  • The design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
    • Is truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design in rural areas; and
    • Would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.

The construction of the following types of buildings can also be approved within greenbelt:

  • Buildings for agriculture or forestry;
  • Buildings for outdoor sport or recreation;
  • Extensions and alterations to a building, provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;
  • Demolishing a building and constructing a new building, provided the new building is in the same use and not larger than the one it replaces;
  • Limited infilling within villages;
  • Limited affordable housing for local community needs, including rural exception sites;
  • Limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land, which would not have a greater impact on the openness than the existing development; or not cause substantial harm to the openness of the greenbelt.


Book Your Free Consultation

We have different fee structures to suit each client and project from a % of the sale value, a fixed fee, or a no win, no fee. Get in touch with ZMA to book your free consultation.

Learn more about our innovative architecture practice based in Lancashire.


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