Is your land suitable for site allocation?

<-- Back to News Page October 21, 2019

The first question to tackle is, ‘what is a site allocation?’. The planning system is plan-led, which means that planning permission should be determined in accordance with the development plan. The development plan provides the strategic planning policies for the local area and sets out the site allocations required to meet the development objectives, which may include the land required over the plan period for residential, economic, and retail purposes etc.

Before a development plan and the site allocations are adopted by a local authority as a formal planning policy document, there is a evidence base gathering exercise that they need to perform, to understand what sites are available, suitable and achievable to meet their spatial development aspirations. This process often involves a ‘call for sites’ public consultation and a ‘strategic housing land availability assessment (SHLAA)’.

Call for Sites

This represents Stage 1 in the evidence gathering process. The purpose of the ‘call for sites’ consultation is to provide an early opportunity for individuals, landowners, developers and other interested parties to submit their sites or broad locations to their Local Authority, as potential development options. This exercise allows the local authority to understand what sites are available for development purposes.

Even if a local authority has an up-to-date development, they often carry out regular ‘Call for Sites’ consultations to ensure that they have a current list of sites. This provides an excellent early opportunity to start the process of getting a site considered for development purposes.

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment

This represents Stage 2 in the process and represents a technical exercise carried out by a local authority to determine the quantity and suitability of land as an allocation, taking into account various factors such as existing site constraints (e.g. access, flood risk, proximity to ecological sites etc), land designations e.g. Green Belt, AONB etc.  A favourable assessment within a SHLAA document will put a site on the right path towards a site allocation.

A favourable assessment can also be used to support a site subject to a planning application, particularly where it has been submitted because the local authority does not have an up to supply of housing sites and cannot demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply, so need to approve more sites that meet sustainability objectives.

To support and inform the inclusion of sites within a development plan, it may sometimes be necessary to carry technical assessments, for example, drainage, highways, landscape assessments. Such assessments are not always necessary and depend on the site circumstances. We can advice as to when such reports are required.

To find out whether your site may have scope for inclusion in a development plan as a site allocation, please contact us at, as we specialise in assessing the suitability of sites and have an excellent track record in successfully securing site allocations.

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ADP Ltd, Hophouse, Colchester Road, West Bergholt, Colchester, Essex, CO6 3TJ