19
February
2024

Brownfield Site Development – Will it solve our housing problems?

For developers who are experts in delivering challenging remediation and infrastructure projects, the current abundance of brownfield sites offers up significant opportunities

Simon Baxter | Partner & Head of Real Estate

There has been much talk in the press about the need for more housing and the use of brownfield development has been identified as a tool to address this issue while also assuaging the disenfranchised youth of the country.  

But, can this work? 

Partner and Head of Real Estate, Simon Baxter, examines this proposal in more detail.  

What is a brownfield site?  

In England, a brownfield site would be defined as land that has been previously developed (often used for industry) or was once occupied by a permanent structure. Typically, these sites are abandoned or no longer utilised due to pollution from industrial waste, meaning they lie redundant.  

Challenges around redeveloping brownfield sites 

Brownfield sites can play a pivotal role in the future development of our cities, but the delivery of such schemes come with a number of challenges, including: 

  • Complex and expensive remediation and infrastructure requirements, requiring high capital outlay. 
  • Unusual ownership structures resulting in demanding site assembly requirements. 
  • difficult access constraints. 
  • Rights of light constraints in densely developed areas. 
  • Many sites are elected for VAT which can require more complex legal structures for funding affordable or rent schemes. 

Advantages of brownfield development 

For developers who are experts in delivering challenging remediation and infrastructure projects, the current abundance of brownfield sites offers up significant opportunities, allowing them the chance to develop high value schemes in excellent locations. 

Local Planning Authorities are often keen to see the gentrification of these parts of the city or town, often resulting in a more supportive reception to these schemes during the planning process. 

Specialist targeted funding may be available from local authorities and or Homes England to support the capital costs associated with brownfield land development, further expanding the opportunities available. 

How Primas Law can help 

At Primas Law we have an excellent team of expert development and construction lawyers with extensive experience in all aspects of brownfield development.  

Our team can support developers in accessing land matters, rights of light solutions, specialist funding / grant support, and planning matters.  

If you are thinking of taking on a brownfield land project, please speak to our Real Estate team and see how we can support your legal needs.

Contact Simon Baxter directly via simon.baxter@primaslaw.co.uk

Share this