Call us 24/7 (Freephone)


PS Development Services

Property, Land & Development Site Acquisition / Promotion

Property Development Glossary

Terms that you may come across when undertaking your own research and we hope will assist in understanding the technical jargon

Please find a list of common terminology used in the property development space, which will assist you when analysing our own proposals.


The ability of people to move around an area and reach places and facilities, including elderly and disabled people, those with young children and those encumbered with luggage or shopping.  A range of considerations need to be made in relation to accessibility to and within the development site – principally for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians in terms of positioning and treatment of circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding network.  A commonly cited “reserved matter” with Outline Planning Permission applications.

Adopted Proposals Map

A component of a Local Development Framework and an important part of the development plan, or DPD itself, showing the location of proposals in all current Development Plan Documents, on an Ordnance Survey base map.

Affordable housing

Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.  The rising property prices, particularly in Greater London, has meant that….

Air Quality Management Areas

Areas designated by local authorities because they are not likely to achieve national air quality objectives by the relevant deadlines.

Amenity Green-space

Open land, often landscaped, that makes a positive contribution to the appearance of an area or improves the quality of the lives of people living or working within the locality. It often provides opportunities for activities such as sports, and can serve other purposes such as reducing the noise from a busy road or providing shelter from prevailing winds.


The process whereby a planning applicant can challenge an adverse decision, including a refusal of permission. Appeals can also be made against the failure of the planning authority to issue a decision within a given time, against conditions attached to permission, against the issue of an enforcement notice and against refusals of listed building and planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area.  In England and Wales, appeals are processed by the Planning Inspectorate.


The aspects of a building or place within the development which determine the visual impression the building or place makes, including the external built form of the development, its architecture, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture. A commonly cited “reserved matter” with Outline Planning Permission applications.

Archaeological Assessment / Evaluation

An assessment of the potential archaeological interest of a site or building. This can be either a desk-based assessment or a field assessment, involving ground survey and small-scale pits or trial trenching carried out by professionally qualified archaeologist(s) looking for historical remains.  This may impede development or prompt major restrictions.

Area Action Plan

A type of Development Plan Document focused upon a specific location or an area subject to conservation or significant change (for example major regeneration).  This may influence the ability of a given sign to achieve planning permission.

Area of Search

A broad area within which sites are sought for development, for example, for housing, mineral extraction, or renewable energy.

Article 14 Direction

A direction which withdraws automatic planning permission granted by the General Permitted Development Order. An Article 14 Direction means that a local planning authority cannot grant planning permission for a particular proposal until further notice.

Article 4 Direction

Direction removing some or all permitted development rights, for example within a conservation area or curtilage of a listed building. Article 4 directions are issued by local planning authorities.

Back-land Development

Development of ‘landlocked’ sites behind existing buildings, such as rear gardens and private open space, usually within predominantly residential areas. Such sites often have no street frontages.

Best Available Techniques (BAT)

In terms of assessing the potential effects of pollution, a system that aims to balance the costs to the operator against the benefits to the environment.

Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO)

There are many different ways of dealing with waste, and the BPEO is basically the waste management option that provides the most benefit or least damage to the environment as a whole, at an acceptable cost, in both the short and long term. For example, recycling versus landfill.  Such factors will be incorporated into any development analysis.

Best Value

The way an authority measures, manages and improves its performance with regard to Government targets.  We aim to get a good understanding of the legislation ……..


Means through the tax system of capturing the development value of land for the benefit of the community.

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

A strategy prepared for a local area aimed at conserving and enhancing biological diversity.  Such factors will have to be considered…..


In general terms, blight is the depressing effect on an area or property caused by potential development proposals, for example a proposed major new road.  Any development will have to be…

Breach of Conditions Notice

A notice served by a local planning authority where they suspect that a planning condition linked to a planning permission has been breached.  Need to adhere…………

Brief / Planning Brief

A planning brief can include site-specific development briefs, design briefs, development frameworks and master plans that seek to positively shape future development.

Brownfield Land and Sites

Previously developed land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land and any associated fixed surface infrastructure.

Buffer Zone

An area of land separating certain types of development from adjoining sensitive land uses. Often used in relation to minerals and/or waste development.  We generally look for sites and move away from areas, unless we are aware of future…

Build to Let

New housing developments where all the properties are built for rent, not sale.

Building Preservation Notice

A notice applying to a building all the protection afforded to Listed Buildings on a temporary basis, during which time the Secretary of State will consider whether the building should be granted Listed Building status. The building should be of special historic or architectural interest and be in danger of demolition or alteration harmful to the character of the building.

Business Improvement Districts (BID)

Designated town centre management (and sometimes other areas) where businesses agree to pay additional rates to fund improvements to the general retail environment.

Business Planning Zone (BPZ)

BPZs offer a simplified planning regime whereby specific ‘low-impact’ development, conforming to a scheme setting out acceptable use classes and general design standards, might not require planning permission.

Call-in or Called-in Planning Application

The Secretary of State can “call in” certain planning applications that local authorities propose to approve. For example, where it may have wider effects beyond the immediate locality, significant regional or national controversy, or potential conflict with national policy. These will then be subject to a public inquiry presided over by a Planning Inspector who will make recommendation to the Secretary of State who will decide the application instead of the local planning authority.

Catchment (in retailing terms)

The geographical area from which a retail destination draws its trade. Sometimes measured in terms of “Drive Time”.

Certificate of Immunity from Listing

Certificate granting immunity from listing or the issuing of a Building Preservation Notice for a period of five years. Only granted when planning permission has been granted or is being sought for a development.

Change of Use

A change in the way that land or buildings are used (see Use Classes Order). Planning permission is usually necessary in order to change from one ‘use class’ to another.

Part A

A1 (Shops) – Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes.

A2 (Financial and Professional Services) – Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) and including estate and employment agencies. It does not include betting offices or pay day loan shops – these are now classed as “sui generis” uses (see below).

A3 (Restaurants and Cafés) – For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises – restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

A4 (Drinking Establishments) – Public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments (but not nightclubs).

A5 (Hot Food Takeaways) – For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises.

Part B

B1 (Business – Offices) (other than those that fall within A2) – research and development of products and processes, light industry appropriate in a residential area.

B2 (General Industrial) – Use for industrial process other than one falling within class B1 (excluding incineration purposes, chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste).

B8 (Storage or Distribution) – This class includes open air storage.

Part C

C1 (Hotels) – Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no significant element of care is provided (excludes hostels).

C2 (Residential Institutions) – Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres.

C2A (Secure Residential Institution) – Use for a provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as a military barracks.

C3 (Dwelling Houses) – this class is formed of 3 parts:

C3(a): covers use by a single person or a family (a couple whether married or not, a person related to one another with members of the family of one of the couple to be treated as members of the family of the other), an employer and certain domestic employees (such as an au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary and personal assistant), a carer and the person receiving the care and a foster parent and foster child.

C3(b): up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.

C3(c): allows for groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household. This allows for those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition, but which fell within the previous C3 use class, to be provided for i.e. a small religious community may fall into this section as could a homeowner who is living with a lodger.

C4 (Houses in Multiple Occupation) – small shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.

Part D

D1 (Non-residential Institutions) – Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non residential education and training centres.

D2 (Assembly and Leisure) – Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).

Sui Generis

Certain uses do not fall within any use class and are considered “sui generis”. Such uses include: betting offices/shops, pay day loan shops, theatres, larger houses in multiple occupation, hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards. Petrol filling stations and shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles. Retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres and casinos.


A planning term relating to Conservation Areas or Listed Buildings, but also to the appearance of any rural or urban location in terms of its landscape or the layout of streets and open spaces, often giving places their own distinct identity.

Chief Planning Officer

The lead planning officer at a local authority. Some authorities use the title Head of Planning.

Civic Amenity Site

A facility provided by the Waste Disposal Authority that is available to the public to deposit waste which cannot be collected by the normal household waste collection round.

Climate Change Adaptation

Adjustments to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic factors or their effects, including from changes in rainfall and rising temperatures, which moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities.

Code for Sustainable Homes

A new national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes launched in December 2006.

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)

A public body acting as a champion of good design in England.

Commitments (or Committed Development)

All land with current planning permission or allocated in adopted development plans for development (particularly residential development).

Community Forest

An area identified through the England Community Forest Programme to revitalise countryside and green space in and around major conurbations.

Community Infrastructure Levy

A levy allowing local authorities to raise funds from owners or developers of land undertaking new building projects in their area.  Most new development which creates net additional floor space of 100m² or more, or creates a new dwelling, is potentially liable for the levy.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Independent non-profit trusts which own or control land and facilities in perpetuity for the benefit of the community.

Community Right to Build Order

An order made by the local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) that grants planning permission for a site-specific development proposal or classes of development.

Community Strategy

A strategy prepared by a local authority to improve local quality of life and aspirations, under the Local Government Act 2000.

Competent Person (to prepare site investigation information)

A person with a recognised relevant qualification, sufficient experience in dealing with the type(s) of pollution or land instability, and membership of a relevant professional organisation.

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)

An order issued by the government or a local authority to acquire land or buildings for public interest purposes. For example, for the construction of a major road or the redevelopment of certain brownfield sites.

Conservation Area

Local authorities have the power to designate as conservation areas, any area of special architectural or historic interest. This means the planning authority has extra powers to control works and demolition of buildings to protect or improve the character or appearance of the area. Conservation Area Consent has been replaced by planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area.

Conservation Area Character Appraisal

A published document defining the special architectural or historic interest that warranted the area being designated.

Conservation Area Consent

Consent required for the demolition of an unlisted building within a conservation area.

Construction and Demolition Waste

Controlled waste arising from the construction, repair, maintenance and demolition of buildings and structures.

Contaminated Land

Land that has been polluted or harmed in some way making it unfit for safe development and usage unless cleaned.

Controlled Waste

Waste that requires a licence for its treatment or disposal.

Conservation for Heritage Policy

The process of maintaining and managing change to a heritage asset in a way that sustains and, where appropriate, enhances its significance.

Core and Feeder Public Transport Network

A network of bus routes serving major destinations/corridors often having standards for frequencies, times of operation, vehicle quality, levels of bus priority and passenger information. Feeder networks link into the core networks.

Core Strategy

A Development Plan Document setting out the spatial vision and strategic objectives of the planning framework for an area, having regard to the Community Strategy.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

An assessment method that is sometimes used to compare the benefits and costs of a development proposal, such as a major infrastructure project.

Cultural Strategy

Aims to “promote the cultural well-being” of the area it covers.

Cumulative Impact

A number of developments in a locality or a continuous activity over time that together may have an increased impact on the environment, local community or economy.


The area normally within the boundaries of a property surrounding the main building and used in connection with it.

Decent Home

Communities and Local Government standard which states that a home must be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities in order to be classed as “decent”.

Decentralised Energy

Local renewable energy and local low-carbon energy usually but not always on a relatively small scale encompassing a diverse range of technologies.

Delegated Powers

A power conferred to designated planning officers by locally elected councillors so that the officers may take decisions on specified planning matters behalf of the council.


In the case of residential development, a measurement of either the number of habitable rooms per hectare or the number of dwellings per hectare.  careful consideration will need to be given to…  neighbour objections… the ability of local services to handle the growth.

Design Code

A set of illustrated design rules and requirements which instruct and may advise on the physical development of a site or area. The graphic and written components of the code are detailed and precise, and build upon a design vision such as a masterplan or other design and development framework for a site or area.

Design Guide

A document providing guidance on how development can be carried out in accordance with good design practice often produced by a local authority with a view to retaining local distinctiveness.

Design Statement

A design statement can be made at a pre-planning application stage by a developer, indicating the design principles upon which a proposal is to be based. It may also be submitted in support of a planning application.

Detailed Application / Full Application

A planning application seeking full permission for a development proposal, with no matters reserved for later planning approval.


The process by which a local planning authority reaches a decision on whether a proposed development requires planning permission.


Defined under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act as “the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operation in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land.” Most forms of development require planning permission.

Development Control & Development Management

The process whereby a local planning authority receives and considers the merits of a planning application and whether it should be given permission having regard to the development plan and all other material considerations.

Development Layout

spatial organisation of buildings, internal routes, communal areas in relation to each other within a development project.

Development Limits & Development Boundaries

Development limits identify the area within which development proposals would be acceptable, subject to complying with other policies contained in the Development Plan. They seek to prevent development from gradually extending in an inappropriate manner.

Development Plan

A document setting out the local planning authority’s policies and proposals for the development and use of land and buildings in the authority’s area. This includes adopted Local Plans, neighbourhood plans and the London Plan, and is defined in section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

Development Plan Documents (DPDs)

Development Plan Documents are prepared by local planning authorities and outline the key development goals of the local development framework. The documents include the core strategy and, where needed, area action plans. There will also be an adopted proposals map which illustrates the spatial extent of policies that must be prepared and maintained to accompany all DPDs. All DPDs must be subject to rigorous procedures of community involvement, consultation and independent examination, and adopted after receipt of the inspector’s binding report. Once adopted, development control decisions must be made in accordance with them unless material considerations indicate otherwise. DPDs form an essential part of the Local Development Framework and will be referred to extensively when drafting planning applications.

Discharge of Conditions

Removal of raised issues pertaining to the application following the grant of detailed / full planning permission.

Due Diligence

A process of detailed research into plot of land, building or development typically in order to make an offer.  This usually involves financial and planning-related examination.

Economic Development

Development, including those within the B Use Classes, public and community uses and main town centre uses (but excluding housing development).

Edge of Centre

For retail purposes, a location that is well connected and up to 300 metres of the primary shopping area. For all other main town centre uses, a location within 300 metres of a town centre boundary. For office development, this includes locations outside the town centre but within 500 metres of a public transport interchange. In determining whether a site falls within the definition of edge of centre, account should be taken of local circumstances.


The actual facade (or face) of a building, or a plan showing the drawing of a facade.

Employment Land Availability (ELA)

The total amount of land reserved for industrial and business use awaiting development.

Enforcement Action

Procedures by a local planning authority to ensure that the terms and conditions of a planning decision are carried out, or that development carried out without planning permission is brought under control.

Enforcement Notice

A notice served by a local planning authority setting out the remedial action necessary to put right work or correct an activity that appears to have been undertaken without planning permission.

English Heritage

Government advisors with responsibility for all aspects of protecting and promoting the historic environment.

Environment Agency

A government body that aims to prevent or minimise the effects of pollution on the environment and issues permits to monitor and control activities that handle or produce waste. It also provides up-to-date information on waste management matters and deals with other matters such as water issues including flood protection advice.

Environmental Impact Assessment

A procedure to be followed for certain types of project to ensure that decisions are made in full knowledge of any likely significant effects on the environment.

European Site

This includes candidate Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Community Importance, Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, and is defined in regulation 8 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

Evidence Base

The information and data gathered by local authorities to justify the “soundness” of the policy approach set out in Local Development Documents, including physical, economic, and social characteristics of an area.

Existing Use Value (EUV)

First Time Buyers Initiative

Part of Communities and Local Government’s HomeBuy low-cost home-ownership initiative. It is positioned to target key workers and other eligible groups that have sufficient income to sustain home ownership but are currently prevented from entering the housing market by the prevailing demand/supply conditions.

Flood Risk Assessment

An assessment of the likelihood of flooding in a particular area so that development needs and mitigation measures can be carefully considered.

Footfall / Pedestrian Flow

The numbers and movements of people to provide an indicator of the commercial health of a shopping centre, whilst also informing potential businesses of the likely level of passing trade.

Front Loading

Community involvement in the production of Local Development Documents to gain public input and seek consensus from the earliest opportunity.

Full Application

A planning application seeking full permission for a development proposal, with no matters reserved for later approval.

General Permitted Development Order (GPDO)

A set of regulations made by the Government which grants planning permission for specified limited or minor forms of development.

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A computer-based system whereby mapping and information are linked for a variety of uses, such as capturing data justifying Local Development Documents.

Green Belt (not to be confused with the term “greenfield”)

A designation for land around certain cities and large built-up areas, which aims to keep this land permanently open or largely undeveloped. The purposes of the green belt is to: check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas; prevent neighbouring towns from merging; safeguard the countryside from encroachment; preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; assist urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.  Green Belts are defined in a local planning authority´s development plan.

Green Infrastructure

A network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities.

Green Wedges

Comprise the open areas around and between parts of settlements, which maintain the distinction between the countryside and built up areas, prevent the coalescence (merging) of adjacent places and can also provide recreational opportunities.

Greenfield Land or Site

Land (or a defined site); usually farmland, forest, woods or other open space; that has not previously been developed.

Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013

The Act sets out a series of reforms intended to reduce the red tape that the government considers hampers business investment, new infrastructure and job creation. It is hoped that this will help the UK recover from recession and allow it to compete more effectively on the global stage.  The Act inserted sections 106BA, BB and BC into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Habitable Rooms

There is no single legal definition of “habitable room”, as its use and meaning is subject to context.  For example, the Building Regulations Approved documents provide 3 separate definitions in different parts:

·         Part B: A room used, or intended to be used, for dwellinghouse purposes (including for the purposes of Part B, a kitchen but not a bathroom).

·         Part F: A room used for dwelling purposes but which is not solely a kitchen, utility room, bathroom, cellar or sanitary accommodation.

·         Part M: a room used, or intended to be used, for dwelling purposes including a kitchen but not a bathroom or utility room.

There are also separate definitions in regards to calculation of residential density, and although they share common themes, the definitions vary and you are advised to check with your Local Planning Authority as to how the calculation should be made.

Help to Buy

High Demand Housing Areas

Locations with a high demand for housing resulting in expensive pricing and rents making it difficult to enter the housing market. For example, some rural locations, commuter areas, and many locations in southern England.

Highways Agency

An executive agency of the Department for Transport. The Highways Agency is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network of England.  Traffic densities will have to be verified…

Historic Environment

All aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time, including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora.

Historic Environment Record

Information services that seek to provide access to comprehensive and dynamic resources relating to the historic environment of a defined geographic area for public benefit and use.

Housing Land Availability (HLA)

The total amount of land reserved for residential use awaiting development.

Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA)

Body owned by the Local Government Association that works for local government so councils can serve people and places better. It lets councils share best practice, promote the development of local government’s management and workforce, advise councils on customer service and value for money and also helps councils work through local partnerships to tackle local priorities such as health, children’s services and economic development.

Inclusive Design

Designing the built environment, including buildings and their surrounding spaces, to ensure that they can be accessed and used by everyone.

Independent Examination

The process by which a planning inspector may publicly examine a Development Plan Document (DPD) or a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), in respect, before issuing a binding report. The findings set out in the report of binding upon the local authority that produced the DPD or SCI.

Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)

A ward-level index made up from six indicators (income; employment; health deprivation and disability; education; skills and training; housing; and geographical access to services). IMD can help to identify areas for regeneration.

Inert Waste

Waste not undergoing significant physical, chemical or biological changes following disposal, as it does not adversely affect other matter that it may come into contact with, and does not endanger surface or groundwater.

Infill Development

The development of a relatively small gap between existing buildings.

Informal Hearing

A planning appeal hearing undertaken in a structured way, but without the full formality of a local inquiry.

Inquiry (sometimes known as a Public Local Inquiry)

A hearing by a planning inspector into a planning matter such as a local plan or appeal.

Inset Map

A development plan map showing a particular area of interest on the wider proposals map at a larger, more readable scale.

Inset Village / Village Envelope

A village that is ‘inset’ from the Green Belt or other countryside protection policies on the proposals map, sometimes allowing appropriate development.

Inspector’s Report

A report issued by an planning inspector regarding the planning issues debated at the independent examination of a development plan or a planning inquiry. Reports into Development Plan Documents (DPDs) will be binding upon local authorities.

Inward Investment

New business investment or expansion of an existing investment into an area from outside.

Judicial Review

A procedure by which the High Court may review the reasonableness of decisions made by local authorities, the first Secretary of State or lower courts, for example a planning decision.

Key Diagram

The diagrammatic interpretation of the spatial strategy as set out in a local authority’s Core Strategy. (As distinct from a Structure Plan Key Diagram prepared to explain its policy content).

Key Worker Living

A Government scheme running since 2004 helping key workers in London, the South East and East of England to buy a home, upgrade to a family home or rent a home at an affordable price.

Land Compensation

Provisions for the compensation of land compulsorily acquired in the public interest (see also Compulsory Purchase Order).


The stock land with planning permissions but where development has yet to take place. The landbank can be of land for minerals, housing or any other use.

Landfill (including land raising)

The permanent disposal of waste into the ground, by the filling of man-made voids or similar features, or the construction of landforms above ground level (land-raising).

Landfill Directive

European Union requirements on landfill to ensure high standards for disposal and to stimulate waste minimisation.

Landfill Gas

The gas generated in any landfill site accepting biodegradable material. It consists of a mixture of gases, mainly methane and carbon dioxide.

Landscape Appraisal

A method of assessing appearance and essential characteristics of a landscape.

Landscaper Character

The distinct and recognisable pattern of elements that occur consistently in a particular type of landscape. It reflects particular combinations of geology, landform, soils, vegetation, land use and human settlement.


The treatment of land (other than buildings) for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated and includes: (a) screening by fences, walls or other means; (b) the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass; (c) the formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks; (d) the laying out or provision of gardens, courts, squares, water features, sculpture or public art; and (e) the provision of other amenity features. A commonly cited “reserved matter” with Outline Planning Permission applications.

Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)

A certificate issued by a local planning authority, on application, stating that an existing (LDC 191) or proposed use (LDC 192), or other forms of development, can be considered as lawful for planning purposes. This is not the same as planning permission but it is proof that your household building work is lawful.


the way in which buildings, routes and open spaces within the development are provided, situated and orientated in relation to each other and to buildings and spaces outside the development.  A commonly cited “reserved matter” with Outline Planning Permission applications.

Leachate (usually associated with landfill)

Water coming into contact with decomposing waste materials and which has drawn pollutants out of those materials into solution thereby contaminating the water.

Legibility (in terms of settlement patterns)

A legible area is one with a strong sense of local identity. Locations, streets, open spaces and places that have a clear image and are easy to understand.

Life Cycle Analysis

A technique intended to quantify the total impact of a product during its production, distribution, use and recycling, treatment or disposal. Can be applied to sustainable waste management.

Limits of Development

Identify the area within which development proposals would be acceptable, subject to complying with other policies contained in the Development Plan. They seek to prevent development from gradually extending into the surrounding countryside and other restricted areas.

Listed Building Consent

Consent required for the demolition, in whole or in part of a listed building, or for any works of alteration or extension that would affect the character of the building.

Listed Building Enforcement Notice

A notice issued by a local planning authority if work is carried out on a Listed Building without consent, and requiring that the building be brought back to its former state or other remedial works.

Listed Building Purchase Notice

A notice served on a Local Authority where Listed Building consent is refused or is granted subject to onerous conditions, and where the owner can demonstrate that land is incapable of reasonably beneficial use.

Local Agenda 21

A comprehensive action strategy prepared by local authorities to help achieve sustainable development.

Local Centre

A small group of shops and perhaps limited service outlets of a local nature (for example, a suburban housing estate) serving a small catchment. Sometimes also referred to as a local neighbourhood centre.

Local Development Documents (LDDs)

These include Development Plan Documents (which form part of the statutory development plan) and Supplementary Planning Documents (which do not form part of the statutory development plan). LDDs collectively deliver the spatial planning strategy for the local planning authority’s area.

Local Development Framework (LDF)

A non-statutory term used to describe a folder of documents, which includes all the local planning authority’s local development documents. An LDF is comprised of:

·         Development Plan Documents (which form part of the statutory development plan)

·         Supplementary Planning Documents

The local development framework will also comprise of:

·         The Statement of Community Involvement

·         The Local Development Scheme

·         The Annual Monitoring Report

·         Any Local Development Orders or Simplified Planning Zones that may have been added

Local Development Order (LDO)

An Order made by a local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) that grants planning permission for a specific development proposal or classes of development.

Local Development Scheme (LDS)

The local planning authority’s scheduled plan for the preparation of Local Development Documents.

Local Enterprise Partnership

A body, designated by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, established for the purpose of creating or improving the conditions for economic growth in an area.

Local Housing Company

A local authority-promoted housing development and management organisation, possibly with wider regeneration objectives, likely to be established in partnership ownership between a local authority with other public and/or private sector organisations.

Local Landscape Designation (for example, ‘Area of High Landscape value’)

Non-statutory and locally designated areas outside the national landscape designations, which are considered by the local planning authority to be of particular landscape value to the local area.

Local Listing (or Building of Local Importance)

Locally important building valued for contribution to local scene or for local historical situations but not meriting listed building status.

Local Nature Partnership

A body, designated by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, established for the purpose of protecting and improving the natural environment in an area and the benefits derived from it.

Local Nature Reserve

Non-statutory habitats of local significance designated by local authorities where protection and public understanding of nature conservation is encouraged.

Local Need Housing

Housing requirements generated by the indigenous population rather than by in-migration.

Local Plan

The plan for the future development of the local area, drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community. In law this is described as the development plan documents adopted under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Current core strategies or other planning policies, which under the regulations would be considered to be development plan documents, form part of the Local Plan. The term includes old policies which have been saved under the 2004 Act.

Local Planning Authority

The public authority whose duty it is to carry out specific planning functions for a particular area. All references to local planning authority apply to the district council, London borough council, county council, Broads Authority, National Park Authority and the Greater London Authority, to the extent appropriate to their responsibilities.

Local Strategic Partnership (LSP)

An overall partnership of people that brings together organisations from the public, private, community and voluntary sector within a local authority area, with the objective of improving people’s quality of life.

Localism Act

The Localism Act has devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and given local communities more control over housing and planning decisions.

London Plan

The Mayor of London is responsible for producing a new planning strategy for the capital. The London Plan is the name given to the Mayor’s spatial development strategy.

Low Cost Home Ownership Programme

An important mechanism for delivering a variety of government objectives since the 1980s. The programme has consisted of a number of schemes with differing characteristics and objectives, which have evolved over time.

Low Demand Housing (or areas of housing abandonment)

A location where the housing market has collapsed or is close to doing so resulting in a low demand for housing or actual abandonment.

Low Level Restoration

The re-establishment of land following mineral extraction, without infilling (filling the hole created by extraction).

Main Town Centre Uses

Retail development (including warehouse clubs and factory outlet centres); leisure, entertainment facilities the more intensive sport and recreation uses (including cinemas, restaurants, drive-through restaurants, bars and pubs, night-clubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, indoor bowling centres, and bingo halls); offices; and arts, culture and tourism development (including theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls, hotels and conference facilities).

Major Hazards

Installations and pipelines, licensed explosive sites and nuclear installations, around which Health and Safety Executive (and Office for Nuclear Regulation) consultation distances to mitigate the consequences to public safety of major accidents may apply.

Management Plan

A plan for the detailed, sometimes day-to-day management or conservation of important areas, including nature conservation, archaeology, or historic sites, in order to maintain and enhance those special features or qualities.

Master Plan

A type of planning brief outlining the preferred usage of land and the overall approach to the layout of a developer. To provide detailed guidance for subsequent planning applications.

Material Consideration

A matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision.

Mineral Development

Any activity related to the exploration for or winning and working of minerals, including tipping of spoil and ancillary operations such as the use of processing plant.

Mineral Planning Authority (MPA)

The planning authority responsible for planning control of minerals development. County councils are normally responsible for mineral and matters for their area.

Mineral Safeguarding Area

An area designated by Minerals Planning Authorities which covers known deposits of minerals which are desired to be kept safeguarded from unnecessary sterilisation by non-mineral development.

Minerals Local Plan

A statutory development plan prepared by a minerals planning authority under transitional arrangements, setting out policies for the control of development constituting of the winning and working of minerals or the deposit of mineral waste.

Minerals of Local and National Importance

Minerals which are necessary to meet society’s needs, including aggregates, brickclay (especially Etruria Marl and fireclay), silica sand (including high grade silica sands), cement raw materials, gypsum, salt, fluorspar, shallow and deep-mined coal, oil and gas (including hydrocarbons), tungsten, kaolin, ball clay, potash and local minerals of importance to heritage assets and local distinctiveness.

Minerals Reserves

Mineral deposits which have been tested to establish the quality and quantity of material present and which could be economically and technically exploited.

Minimum Design Standards

Mixed Use (or Mixed Use Development)

Provision of a mix of complementary uses, such as residential, community and leisure uses, on a site or within a particular area.

Multimodal Study

A detailed study that considers the problems and solutions affecting all forms of travel along a particular route. Multimodal studies assess against government objectives of accessibility, economy, environment, integration and safety.

Multiplier Effect

The extended impact of an economic action upon business activity and/or upon employment. For example, a new major business may place orders with a smaller one helping to create extra jobs.

National Land Use Database (NLUD)

Government initiative to provide information on the amount of previously developed land (and buildings) that may be available for development.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

A key part of the government’s reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible. The provisions vastly simplify the number of policy pages about planning and have been widely complemented by the property development industry.

Nature Conservation

An Order made by a local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) through which Parish Councils and neighbourhood forums can grant planning permission for a specific development proposal or classes of development.

Nature Improvement Area

The protection, management and promotion of wildlife habitat for the benefit of wild species, as well as the communities that use and enjoy them.

Need (in retail terms)

The balance of supply and demand between retailers and consumers. Often expressed as personal expenditure available to support additional shops to extensions to existing shops.

Neighbourhood Centre

A number of shops serving a local neighbourhood and separate from the district centre. Sometimes referred to as a Local Centre.

Neighbourhood Development Order

An Order made by a local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) through which Parish Councils and neighbourhood forums can grant planning permission for a specific development proposal or classes of development.

Neighbourhood Plans

A plan prepared by a Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum for a particular neighbourhood area (made under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004).

Noise Exposure Category (NEC)

In terms of planning guidance, when assessing a proposal for residential development near to a source of noise, planning authorities use noise exposure categories to help consider the effects.

Objectives and Indicators

Objectives are what are trying to be achieved, and indicators are measures that show whether or not objectives are being achieved. They can be used to help show whether planning policy is effective, or be used in helping to conduct a Sustainability Appraisal.

Original Building

A building as it existed on 1 July 1948 or, if constructed after 1 July 1948, as it was built originally.

Out of Centre

A location which is not in or on the edge of a centre but not necessarily outside the urban area.

Out of Town

A location out of centre that is outside the existing urban area.

Outline Application

A general application for planning permission to establish that a development is acceptable in principle, subject to subsequent approval of detailed matters. Does not apply to changes of use.

Outstanding Planning Permission

A current planning permission that has yet to be implemented.

Over Development

An amount of development (for example, the quantity of buildings or intensity of use) that is excessive in terms of demands on infrastructure and services, or impact on local amenity and character.


A term used to describe the impact of a development or building on its surroundings, particularly a neighbouring property, in terms of its scale, massing and general dominating effect.


Soil and other material that overlays a mineral deposit, and which has to be excavated and either tipped or stockpiled to gain access to the underlying mineral.


A term used to describe the effect when a development or building affords an outlook over adjoining land or property, often causing loss of privacy.


The effect of a development or building on the amount of natural light presently enjoyed by a neighbouring property, resulting in a shadow being cast over that neighbouring property.

Permitted Development (or Permitted Development Rights)

Permission to carry out certain limited forms of development without the need to make an application to a local planning authority, as granted under the terms of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order.

Permitted Reserves

Mineral deposits with the benefit of planning permission for extraction.

Phasing or Phased Development

The phasing of development into manageable parts. For example, an annual rate of housing release for a large development that may need to be controlled so as to avoid destabilising housing markets and causing low demand.

Plan-led System

The principle that the decisions upon planning applications should be made in accordance with the adopted development plan, unless there are other material considerations that may indicate otherwise.

Planning Advisory Service

A service to help and advise local planning authorities struggling to meet best value performance targets for development control.

Planning Aid

Provides free and independent advice and support to community groups and individuals unable to employ a planning consultant.

Planning Casework Service

An online service designed and managed by the Planning Inspectorate and accessed through the Planning Portal. The service lets users in England submit and track different kinds of appeals electronically and search and comment on appeals online. The service is not currently available in Wales.

Planning Condition

A condition imposed on a grant of planning permission (in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) or a condition included in a Local Development Order or Neighbourhood Development Order.

Planning for Real

A consultation method involving creative exercise (for example, the use of maps and model buildings) designed to engage the public in plan making.

Planning Gain

The benefits or safeguards, often for community benefit, secured by way of a planning obligation as part of a planning approval and usually provided at the developer’s expense. For example, affordable housing, community facilities or mitigation measures.

Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate’s work includes national infrastructure planning under the Planning Act 2008 process (as amended by the Localism Act 2011), processing planning and enforcement appeals and holding examinations into local plans and community infrastructure levy charging schedules.

Planning Obligation

A legally enforceable obligation entered into under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to mitigate the impacts of a development proposal. Sometimes called “Section 106” agreements.

Planning Out Crime

The planning and design of street layouts, open space, and buildings so as to reduce the actual likelihood or fear of crime, for example by creating natural surveillance.

Planning Permission

Formal approval sought from a local planning authority allowing a proposed development to proceed. Permission may be sought in principle through outline planning applications, or be sought in detail through full planning applications.

Planning Policy Guidance (PPG)

Issued by central government setting out its national land use policies for England on different areas of planning. These are gradually being replaced by Planning Policy Statements (see below).

Planning Policy Statement (PPS)

Issued by central government to replace the existing Planning Policy Guidance notes in order to provide greater clarity and to remove from national policy advice on practical implementation, which is better expressed as guidance rather than policy.

Planning Portal

A national website for members of the public, local planning authorities and planning consultants. The Planning Portal features a wide range of information and services on planning.

Pollution Prevention and Control / Integrated Pollution Control

A system of regulations and permit regime designed to prevent or reduce pollution.


Meeting with the local Council prior to making a full planning application.  Pre-application advice is encouraged as it can confirm the list of local requirements each planning authority can require; reduce the likelihood of submitting invalid applications and help with the understanding of how planning policies and other requirements affect proposals (note the pre-application process differs from an Outline Planning Application, see above).

Precautionary Principle

Taking action now to avoid possible environmental damage when the scientific evidence for acting is inconclusive but the potential damage could be great.

Preferred Areas

An area within a mineral consultation area containing mineral resources which can be identified with a high degree of provision and where there is a strong presumption in favour of extraction.

Previously Developed Land

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or has been occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures; land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously-developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time.

Prior Approval

Prior approval means that a developer has to seek approval from the local planning authority that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed. The matters for prior approval vary depending on the type of development and these are set out in full in the relevant parts in Schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order. A local planning authority cannot consider any other matters when determining a prior approval application.  The statutory requirements relating to prior approval are much less prescriptive in comparison to full planning applications.  This is deliberate, as prior approval is intended to be an expedited process which applies where the principle of the development has already been established.  It is important to note that a local planning authority cannot impose unnecessarily onerous requirements on developers in relation to the prior approval process and it is not intended to replicate the planning system.  Interestingly, a procedure where permission is deemed granted if the local planning authority does not respond to the developer’s application within a certain time.

Private Rented Sector

Housing that is owned by a private individual, company or organisation, including some charities, and subsequently let out normally on a minimum 6-month Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement.

Proximity Principle

Requires that waste should be managed as near as possible to its place of production, reducing travel impacts.

Public Open Space

Urban space, designated by a council, where public access may or may not be formally established, but which fulfils or can fulfil a recreational or non-recreational role (for example, amenity, ecological, educational, social or cultural usages).

Public Realm

Those parts of a village, town or city (whether publicly or privately owned) available, for everyone to use. This includes streets, squares and parks.

Public Right of Way

A public right of way is a highway over which the public have a right of access along the route.

Quality Bus Route

High-quality, high-frequency bus route usually operated by low floor vehicles along routes often with a higher degree of bus priority measures installed to speed up journey times.

Reasoned Justification

The supporting text in a development plan or Local Development Document explaining and justifying the approach set out in the policies contained in the document.

Remediation / Remedial Work

removal or containment of all known contaminants to levels considered safe for human health.  Redevelopment of contaminated land can only take place after all environmental health risks have been properly assessed and removed.  As remediation can be very expensive and complex and will need to be considered in any financial appraisal and analysis of development viability.  This is something that cannot be seen until we engage in a Preliminary Risk Assessment (see below).  Nonetheless, as a result of new remediation technologies, overcoming the costliness of traditional methodologies (such as “dig and dump” – that is, removing contaminated material and transporting it to specially approved tips elsewhere) has become an easier process with the added benefit of protecting and preserving the environment.  Examples of which include bioremediation, photoremediation and in-situ chemical oxidation. 

Reserved Matters

The Local Planning Authority may request further submissions of detailed plans once outline planning consent has been obtained, including the layout of buildings within the proposed development; the precise height, width and length of individual buildings; the appearance of buildings; access to and within the site for vehicles / cycles / pedestrians and landscape proposals.  Reserved matters applications should be submitted within 3 years of outline permission being granted. Outline planning permission lasts for two years from the date reserved matters were approved, or three years from the date of the outline planning permission, whichever is the later.

Retail Floorspace

Total floor area of the property that is associated with all retail uses. Usually measured in square metres. May be expressed as a net figure (the sales area) or in gross (including storage, preparation and staff areas).

Retail Impact

The potential effects of proposed retail development upon existing shops.

Retail Impact Assessment

An assessment undertaken for an application for retail use (normally on developments over 2,500 square metres gross floorspace, but they may occasionally be necessary for smaller developments, such as those likely to have a significant impact on smaller centres) on the impact of the proposal on the vitality and viability of existing centres within the catchment area of the proposed development. The assessment includes the likely cumulative effect of recent permissions, developments under construction and completed developments.

Ribbon Development

Development, usually residential, extending along one or both sides of a road but not extended in depth.

Roundtable Discussions

A forum in which people making representations upon a Development Plan Document can express their views before a Government appointed Planning Inspector.

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

A professional body furthering the art of town and country planning.

Saved Policies / Saved Plan

Policies within unitary development plans, local plans and structure plans that are saved for a time period during replacement production of Local Development Documents.


the height, width and length of each building proposed within the development in relation to its surroundings. A commonly cited “reserved matter” with Outline Planning Permission applications.

Secondary Shopping Frontages

A retailing area, secondary to the primary shopping frontage, that provides greater opportunities for a diversity of uses.

Section 106 Agreement

A legal agreement under section 106 of the 1990 Town & Country Planning Act. Section 106 agreements are legal agreements between a planning authority and a developer, or undertakings offered unilaterally by a developer, that ensure that certain extra works related to a development are undertaken.

Sequential Approach / Sequential Test

A planning principle that seeks to identify, allocate or develop certain types or locations of land before others. For example, brownfield housing sites before greenfield sites, or town centre retail sites before out-of-centre sites.

Settlement Pattern

Describes the way in which hamlets, villages, towns and cities are distributed in space and the relationships between them.

Simplified Planning Zone

An area in which a local planning authority wishes to stimulate development and encourage investment. It operates by granting a specified planning permission in the zone without the need for an application for planning permission and the payment of planning fees.

Site Investigation Information

Includes a risk assessment of land potentially affected by contamination, or ground stability and slope stability reports, as appropriate. All investigations of land potentially affected by contamination should be carried out in accordance with established procedures (such as BS10175 (2001) Code of Practice for the Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites). The minimum information that should be provided by an applicant is the report of a desk study and site reconnaissance.

Site Visit

A visit to a proposed development site conducted by planning officers, councillors or inspectors to clarify the appearance of a site or visualise the effects of the proposal.

Social Inclusion

Positive action taken to include all sectors of society in planning and other decision-making.


To be considered sound, a Development Plan Document must be justified (founded on robust and credible evidence and be the most appropriate strategy) and effective (deliverable, flexible and able to be monitored). This is consistent with PPS12.

Source Protection Zone

The Environment Agency identifies Source Protection Zones to protect groundwater (especially public water supply) from developments that may damage its quality.

Spatial Development

Changes in the distribution of activities in space and the linkages between them in terms of the use and development of land.

Spatial Planning

Going beyond traditional land use planning to bring together and integrate policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.  This will include policies which can impact on land use by influencing the demands on, or needs for, development, but which are not capable of being delivered solely or mainly through the granting or refusal of planning permission and which may be implemented by other means.

Spatial Vision

A brief description of how the area will be changed at the end of a plan period.

Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Areas given special protection under the European Union’s Habitats Directive, which is transposed into UK law by the Habitats and Conservation of Species Regulations 2010.

Special Needs Housing

Meeting the needs of groups of people who may be disadvantaged, such as the elderly, the disabled, students, young single people, rough sleepers, the homeless, those needing hostel accommodation, key workers, travellers and occupiers of mobile homes and houseboats.


The process by which buildings are listed on an individual basis (often in response to a third-party request), rather than as part of a formal review of buildings in a particular area.

Standards Authority

A local planning authority producing an improvement plan, having failed to meet one or more government Best Value performance target for development control, relating to efficient planning application processing.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

Sets out the processes to be used by the local authority in involving the community in the preparation, alteration and continuing review of all local development documents and development control decisions. The Statement of Community Involvement is an essential part of the new-look Local Development Frameworks.

Statement of Consultation / Statement of Compliance

A report or statement issued by local planning authorities explaining how they have complied with their Statement of Community Involvement during consultation on Local Development Documents.


Required by law (statute), usually through an Act of Parliament.

Statutory Body

A government-appointed body set up to give advice and be consulted for comment upon development plans and planning applications affecting matters of public interest.

Statutory Undertakers / Statutory Utilities

Bodies carrying out functions of a public character under a statutory power. They may either be in public or private ownership such as Post Office, Civil Aviation Authority, the Environment Agency or any water undertaker, any public gas transporters, supply of electricity etc.

Strategic Employment Site

A key employment site in a strategic location capable of accommodating major investment, often of national or regional significance.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

A procedure (set out in the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004) which requires the formal environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Structure Plan

An old-style development plan, which sets out strategic planning policies and forms the basis for detailed policies in local plans. These plans will continue to operate for a time after the commencement of the new development plan system, due to transitional provisions under planning reform.

Sub-Regional Partnership

Strategic body directing, influencing and co-ordinating a range of economic development and regeneration activities often made up of key private, public and other interests.

Submission Document

A Development Plan Document submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Sui Generis

A term given to the uses of land or buildings, not falling into any of the use classes identified by the Use Classes Order, for example theatres, launderettes, car showrooms and filling stations.

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD)

Documents which add further detail to the policies in the Local Plan. They can be used to provide further guidance for development on specific sites, or on particular issues, such as design. Supplementary planning documents are capable of being a material consideration in planning decisions but are not part of the development plan.

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)

May cover a range of issues, both thematic and site specific and provide further detail of policies and proposals in a development plan.

Sustainability Appraisal (including Environmental Appraisal)

An appraisal of the economic, environmental and social effects of a plan from the outset of the preparation process to allow decisions to be made that accord with sustainable development.

Sustainable Transport Modes

Any efficient, safe and accessible means of transport with overall low impact on the environment, including walking and cycling, low and ultra low emission vehicles, car sharing and public transport.


A description (or visual representation on a map) of the shape of the land, for example, contours or changes in the height of land above sea level.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

An act of the United Kingdom Parliament regulating the development of land in England and Wales. It is a central part of English land law in that it concerns town and country planning in the United Kingdom.

Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA)

An assessment of the effects upon the surrounding area by traffic as a result of a development, such as increased traffic flows that may require highway improvements.

Tranquil Areas

Areas sufficiently remote from the visual or audible intrusion of development or traffic to be considered unspoilt by urban influences.

Transitional Arrangements

Generally used to describe arrangements that are put in place to manage the change from one system of regulations or procedures to another. More recently used to describe government regulations outlining the process of preparing development plans begun before, and to be completed after, the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It includes existing “saved” unitary, structure and local plans until new Local Development Documents are adopted.

Transport Assessment

A comprehensive and systematic process that sets out transport issues relating to a proposed development. It identifies what measures will be required to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of travel, particularly for alternatives to the car such as walking, cycling and public transport and what measures will need to be taken to deal with the anticipated transport impacts of the development.

Transport Statement

A simplified version of a transport assessment where it is agreed the transport issues arising out of development proposals are limited and a full transport assessment is not required.

Travel Demand Management

Planning the travel impacts of existing and new developments to minimise travel needs and provide travel choices for example by efficient car usage (including car sharing), bicycles, and walking and public transport.

Travel Generators

Areas of land use (or developments) that generate travel demands including places of work, schools and colleges, shops and retail parks, hospitals and leisure facilities.

Travel Plan

A long-term management strategy for an organisation or site that seeks to deliver sustainable transport objectives through action and is articulated in a document that is regularly reviewed.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

A mechanism for securing the preservation of single or groups of trees of acknowledged amenity value. A tree subject to a tree preservation order may not normally be topped, lopped or felled without the consent of the local planning authority.

Unauthorised Development

Development that has or is taking place without the benefit of planning permission. It may then risk being the subject of enforcement action.

Unitary Development Plan

An old-style development plan prepared by a metropolitan district and some unitary local authorities, which contains policies equivalent to those in both a structure plan and local plan. These plans will continue to operate for a time after the commencement of the new development plan system, by virtue of specific transitional provisions.

Unstable Land

Land that may be unstable (due to a range of factors) for which planning proposals should give due consideration.

Urban Capacity Study

Studies undertaken to establish how much additional housing can be accommodated within urban areas.

Urban Design

The art of making places. It involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, in villages, towns and cities, to create successful development.

Urban Extension

Involves the planned expansion of a city or town and can contribute to creating more sustainable patterns of development when located in the right place, with well-planned infrastructure including access to a range of facilities, and when developed at appropriate densities.

Urban Fringe

The transitional area between urban areas and the countryside. It can provide a valuable resource for the provision of sport and recreation, particularly in situations where there is an absence of land within urban areas to meet provision.

Urban Housing Capacity Study (UHCS)

A study produced for a local planning authority area examining the potential capacity of urban areas to accommodate extra housing on new or redeveloped sites at various densities, or by the conversion of existing buildings.

Urban Regeneration

Making an urban area develop or grow strong again through means such as job creation and environmental renewal.

Urban Regeneration Company (URC)

A dedicated body through which different people combine to co-ordinate the delivery of urban regeneration projects such as major mixed-use developments.

Urban Sprawl

The uncontrolled or unplanned extension of urban areas into the countryside.


The way in which land or buildings are used.

Use Classes Order

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 puts uses of land and buildings into various categories. Planning permission is not needed for changes of use within the same use class.


The way in which ordinary buildings were built in a particular place, making use of local styles, techniques and materials.

Vernacular Building

A building built without being designed by an architect or engineer or someone with similar formal training, often based on traditional or regional forms.


Visibility Splay

Access around a road junction or access, which should be free from rival obstruction to evade motorists to see there traffic and pedestrians.

Void Space

The capacity within landfill sites for more waste allowing for final restoration and landscaping work.


A small sub-area of a local authority district.

Waste Local Plan

A statutory development plan prepared (or saved) by the waste planning authority under transitional arrangements, setting out polices in relation to waste management and related developments. 

Waste Regulation Authority

The Environment Agency has responsibility for authorising waste management licences for disposal facilities, and for monitoring sites.

White Land

A general expression used to mean land (and buildings) without any specific proposal for allocation in a development plan, where it is intended that for the most part, existing uses shall remain undisturbed and unaltered.

Windfall Site

Sites which have not been specifically identified as available in the Local Plan process. They normally comprise previously-developed sites that have unexpectedly become available.

Written Representations

A procedure by which representations on planning appeals, development plans and Development Plan Documents can be dealt with without the need for a full public inquiry or informal hearing.

Written Statement

A documentary statement supplementing and explaining policy, forming part of a development plan.

Zero Carbon Home

Over a year, the net carbon emissions from all energy use in the home are zero. This includes energy use from cooking, washing and electronic entertainment appliances as well as space heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and hot water.

Our Methodology

Adding Planning Value

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In practical terms, land promotion involves a detailed assessment of the suitability of a given development site, subsequently producing plans / scheme designs / reports while undertaking all the relevant surveys and liaising with the local authority. The overarching aim is to obtain unconditional planning consent, upon which the site will be sold to the highest bidding third party (normally a professional housebuilder) or built out directly. The entire process is normally undertaken at no expense to the land / development site owner. Should the planning outcome be successful, upon disposal, land promoters typically work on a profit share basis commensurate with the associated up-front planning risks and costs of executing the application.

PS Development Services is a trading style of Property Solvers Limited (Company No.: 05878362). Co-Director Ruban Selvanayagam has been involved in the residential property industry (principally in the buy to let space) since 2006 and has since developed a keen interest in in town planning, sustainable housebuilding and the social housing sectors both in the UK and Latin America. As professional property buyers, Property Solvers Limited is registered with the Property Ombudsman, Trading Standards, the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) and also adheres to the government’s own data protection and money laundering regulations. Please feel free to request our credentials via and, should we propose to acquire the site directly, we are more than happy to demonstrate proof of funds.

We are interested in exploring everything from small conversion projects and build to let investments (which we would normally purchase and execute ourselves) right through to mid to larger strategic sites that can be promoted upon a successful planning outcome to willing developers and/or approved building firms. We also consider joint ventures, commercial sale and rent back acquisitions and transfers of going concerns (TOGC).

The term planning gain, in the strictest sense of the word, often gets misinterpreted as solely related to financial “value capture” that benefits both the landowner and, eventually, the housebuilder. Whilst there are scenarios where planning permission is obtained relatively easily, such as through with Permitted Development, most proposals to build new homes require careful consideration of the future impacts on local community dynamics, the environment and transport sustainability whilst ensuring that there is adequate social infrastructure (schools, health services, shops, recreational, cultural stimuli amongst other amenities). A badly designed, unintegrated development serves very little bar creating local contention and, in most cases, will rarely progress beyond the application stage. Professional land promoters and developers therfore understand that any gains from a successful planning application must be distributed across all the project stakeholders, the end buyer and the local community.

Depending on the scope of the development, there will probably be little or no charge to obtain some cursory information which will serve as an approximate guide. More cohesive investigations usually will come at cost that will vary according to the scope and size of the project. In addition to a detailed appraisal process, most planning applications require a significant body of technical reports including transport, flood risk, waste disposal, utilities management, environmental and energy assessments as well as tree, ecology, sustainability and other relevant evidence. As land promoters, PS Development Services will in most cases absorb these professional services costs.

The majority of mid sized developers / professional building firms do not have in-house planning teams in place and generally prefer to purchase land with full, unconditional consent in place. This is often due to the uncertainty that governs the planning process in addition to the associated costs and time constraints involved. Whilst purchasing sites without planning is certainly not ruled out, most will require a suitable discount to factor in the associated risks and any costs of enhancement in line with their needs. PS Development Services, on the other hand, will work hard to achieve a scheme design that will ultimately realise maximum open market value (in the form of saleable square feet).

An option agreement is a right (not an obligation) that the landowner grants a developer to acquire a given site within a specified period of time. The developer will normally apply for planning permission, at their own expense. If granted by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), the landowner is contractually bound to sell to the developer at the pre-agreed value.

A promotion agreement typically has the same characteristics as an option agreement, however both the land owner and the promoter (which may or may not be the developer) will work together to “promote” the development project once planning has been granted.

From a land owners perspective, working on a promotion agreement basis is arguably more preferable as it enables the landowner to secure the optimum price. An option agreement, typically agreed with a developer, is negotiated at the lowest price possible. However, depending on the scope and size of a development proposal, there may be some kind of hybrid agreement in place.

Upon closer examination of a given site, should we perceive that there may well be opportunity to enhance its value, with the owner’s explicit permission, we will initiate consultations with who we feel would be the most suitable architectural practice / planning consultancy and produce an outline financial appraisal ourselves to examine project viability. This process may also involve liaising with the local planning authority and our trusted development services associates. However, we will refrain from taking any of these steps at the request of the owner(s) should there be any privacy issues. Nondisclosure agreements can also be drawn up to ensure confidentiality (when/if deemed necessary).

It should be noted that, whilst we categorically avoid spurious “rule of thumb” estimations and take pride in our ability to compile non-speculative financial models, there will be a wide range of questions that simply cannot be answered as a result of these initial investigations. Therefore, upon our subsequent meetings, whilst monetary terms may be discussed, adopting generic appraisal rules at such an early stage is unlikely to provide owners with a clear understanding of what their site is worth with full planning in place.

Should we be confident about our ability to assist, we would need to engage in a more thorough project analysis process. This will involve arranged visits to the site with our associated planning and architectural consultants complemented by in depth discussions with the local planning authority, engineers, quantity surveyors and other associated services. Naturally, we will respect any decision to hold back and will provide our full contact details should you wish to get in touch at a later date or make independent enquiries.

We will usually aim to establish a “bricks and mortar” and/or existing use value (EUV) of the site either through information that the landowner already has or via our own independent investigations (using a RICS-approved surveyor, where necessary). To ascertain the aproximate value of the site with planning, we will start by undertaking a preliminary “residual valuation”, i.e. – where the overall costs of build plus an industry standard profit margin from the value of the completed project leaves a figure that represents the approximate land value. This figure will be broadly anecdotal until we have a clearer idea of the scope of allowable construction as a result of conversations with our associated planning consultants and the Local Planning Authority (LPA). Furthermore, it is necessary to undertake more sophisticated calculations based on specifications, unit sizes and a number of other variables / practicalities.

No. After initial analysis of the land / development site, we would typically present all the associated risks and costs, alongside our remuneration requirements (usually based on the added value achieved as a result of planning permission being granted). We will naturally give you and any co-owners time to consider our proposal and engage in your own due diligence prior to signing any form of contractual agreement. Providing all parties involved are comfortable moving forward, we can then begin work on the application process and engage with the relevant professional partners. Should we purchasing the site directly, we will also cover all legal costs and associated disbursements.

Detailed information such as floor plans, square footage, photos and other relevant documentation certainly help us at the initial stages of investigation. Note that we are happy to look at previously declined applications

We are very interested in working with land finders use several online tools, particularly the Land Registry, to find out owner details and communicate directly. Our aim is to open a non-obligatory and informal dialogue. At this juncture, we completely understand that property and land owners may simply be curious as to what the redeveloped value of the land as a result of adding planning value would be and selling may not even be a serious consideration.

We welcome any further questions and queries by filling our simple form, contacting us by e-mail or leaving us a message via 020 8226 6901.

Property, Land & Development Sites Required Across Greater London

Very Competitive Offers Excellent Referral Fees

Property, Land & Development Sites Required

Very Competitive Offers
Excellent Referral Fees