Greenfield and Brownfield Sites

Greenfield or Brownfield? What are these different types of land for development, and how does it impact site viability?


Brownfield Sites (aka Previously Developed Land)

Previously developed land or ‘brownfield sites’ comprise any land currently or previously occupied by a permanent structure, including surrounding land and any associated fixed surface infrastructure; Government policy encourages re-use of this land type.

This category of land typically has a high existing use value (EUV). National planning guidance accepts that land will not come forward for development unless the land owner receives the EUV plus a premium. Find out more about use values.

Previously Developed Land services will accurately identify the best possible EUV and premium which, together with viability reporting, will establish the true uplift in value generated by the grant of planning consent and thereby establish funds available to pay for contributions to Affordable Housing and other Infrastructure Contributions.

This process ensures that contributions are paid from the uplift in value generated by the planning consent (as they should be), not from developer profit or existing land values.


Greenfield Sites (aka Undeveloped land)

Greenfield land is broadly agricultural and garden land, and should not be confused with Greenbelt land, which is largely protected from development. The term Greenfield is used largely to denote areas which have not been built on – ie, the fields are still green. The term is used in a wide range of industries, but when it comes to development:

Typically, uplifts in value on the grant of planning permission are substantial and therefore a level of on-site affordable housing is to be expected.

Local Plan Viability Studies generally accept that a substantial uplift above agricultural values should accrue to the landowner in order to provide an incentive to bring the land forward for development.

Greenfield Sites present different challenges to Brownfield development; there will be substantial infrastructure costs, environmental and conservation issues to consider. These are commonly under-estimated by LPAs. Early stage modelling can establish the density of development required to satisfy policy requirements, and thereby better inform LPA choices.

Greenfield Site viability services will ensure the proper inclusion of infrastructure and construction costs to document the true uplift in value generated by the grant of planning consent, and thereby establish the fund available to contribute to Affordable Housing and Infrastructure Contributions.


If you are looking for help with previously developed or undeveloped land, get in touch today to find out how we can assist.

Infrastructure Contributions
July 9, 2021

Infrastructure Contributions

Development will always have an impact on the local community. But what exactly are infrastructure contributions for, and how do they work?
Exeter Affordable Housing Policy
October 28, 2022

Exeter Affordable Housing Policy

Can your development in Exeter still be viable with a 35% affordable housing contribution?
Mole Valley Affordable Housing Policy
January 27, 2023

Mole Valley Affordable Housing Policy

Can your development still be viable in the Mole Valley area?

High Section 106 costs are avoidable

Call us today for a free consultation. Market leader in viability assessment and Section 106 negotiation.

Call us now on
01392 840002
Request a call