FeaturedNews & people

Making use of vacant land

Across the UK, there are countless plots of empty and vacant land, that either already have or are able to receive permission to be developed or used in one way or another. However, there are a number of profitable, well-established and innovative ways in which to use vacant land and at different times, each of these may be considered.

Developing land for the purposes of residential housing units is arguably the most popular way in which to develop land. However, this is usually the case in cities and urban areas where there is a real shortage of housing. Hence, cities, towns and heavily populated areas are ideal for property investment and developers as the profits to be made as a result of huge demand are vast.

Alternatively, outside of the UK’s urban hubs, land can be used for very different purposes with there not always being quite such a large demand for housing. Farms, stables and even clay pigeon shooting clubs are far more realistic prospects outside of cities where there is also a great deal more land and space to develop.

Urban developments

Generally speaking, land development in urban areas, cities and towns will take one of two forms: commercial retail spaces or residential housing units [flats and houses]. The process by which this is achieved is also a very well-established one whereby developers with a large amount of investment capital will simply get construction and management companies to bid for multi-million Pound tenders and then award the contracts accordingly.

Other developers will need to fund their acquisition of the land and the subsequent development via commercial or development finance which is available from a number of specialist providers across the UK. Then, once they have sourced their provider of finance, they will need to prove the financial and profitable viability of the project in question. With all the necessary checks and tests completed, the required loan is funded and the project can be undertaken.

These processes do not differ terribly much between commercial and residential investments. Nowadays, residential planning applications are more likely to be approved than commercial ones due to the need for more housing and investment in the housing market.

Rural developments

Outside of the large towns and cities, there is a lot more scope for land when it is decided to develop or utilise it in one way or another. Just as in cities where you will need to acquire the necessary permissions from a Local Planning Authority (LPA), in rural areas you are very likely to need to get permission from the local council to avoid hefty penalties or court action.

There will be different preferences in different areas with regard to what may be approved and what may not be. For example, an area that is short of shops may be easier to acquire permission for retail premises whereby a farm-focussed community may require more farmland.

That said, there is also increasing demand in rural communities, particularly those within commutable distances to towns and cities to increase the amount of housing they have. Hence, rural areas are to some extent also seeing increases in residential developments. When it comes to farms, however, there are a number of considerations that you will need to think about prior to actually starting a farm or agricultural business.

First and foremost, you will need permission to be allowed to establish a farming or agricultural business on the land in question. Then you will need to determine whether or not you have the finances or access to the finances with which to fund the business itself, as you will potentially need to buy a lot of equipment ranging from cattle crush equipment to straw spreading machinery and even pens and stables.

Depending on the type of farm you actually establish, you will need to put together a comprehensive plan for any financial providers or investors and you will also need a whole host of specific insurance policies for farms and agriculture.