This takes a great deal of perseverance because we live in such a close packed country where land prices are relatively high. Alongside this is the Green Belt planning policy which makes it very difficult to get planning permissionthe legal basis for being allowed to do some form of development such as building a house. (not to be confused with Building RegulationsThese are the legal regulations which govern how a house is constructed. (not to be confused with Planning Permission which is about whether you are allowed to build the house at all or what it might look like) see Building Regulations) which is all about whether the building is properly constructed). see more on Planning Permission in areas which are not already built up
- Avoid locations which involve long journeys for commuting, shopping, schools, etc. Try to find a plot of land close to good public transport services. Many are the arguements about when the world hits ‘Peak Oil’ or whether that point has already been passed. Either way the results of reaching peak oil are likely to make commuting long distances from the countryside into town a much more expensive business (though possibly more pleasureable for those who can aford it). There are more deep reaching consequences for those who don’t own vehicles in terms of shopping, health care etc and also for the general cultural welbeing of rural areas.
- Go for a brownfield site or previously used land. See Habitat protection and land remediation. The book A Pattern Language has a section on remediatin and building on the worst land rather than on beautiful countryside or environmentally sensitive areas.
Finding Sites For Sale
Whether you are an individual self builder or part of a group, finding plots of land can be an extremely hit and miss affair, mainly because it is hard to know when land is coming up for sale in a locality you want and at a price you can afford. The ways of finding land are:
- Local newspaper adverts. This is still a common way for people to advertise land although the ad will probably pop up in the local estate agent as well. Some local newspapers have listings of properties and land on their web sites. UK newspaper links can be found at British Media Online
- Estate agents. Land adverts usually show up with local estate agents because prospective buyers will want to come to the area and view the land. However, estate agents are in something of a dilemma at the moment (a bit like travel agents) because the Internet is making information much more widely available. For this reason various companies are setting up web-based land finders. Find lists of estate agents here.
- Internet “plot finder” sites and specialist groups.more +/-»
- Homes and Communities agency. The government has stated its aim to make more land available for self build and the agency lists considerable areas of land which are on the market. In April 2012 ‘Neighbourhood Planning‘ was introduced and it puts an onus on local authorities to assess the local demand for requirements such as self build.
- Word of mouth. This can be a surprisingly effective way of finding land, especially if you are acquainted with a few people in the area of interest. Potential vendors may be approachable and may be keen to know who might be a neighbour and what kind of building is proposed, rather than putting land up for sale on the open market.
- Walking and cycling. For some strange reason you often see more when you are moving slowly. You might spot buildings that need renovating or bump into people who have something for sale. It’s often walking around and chatting that pays off.
- PlotSearch is the scheme run by BuildStore
- Self Build ABC
- Needaplot – the Self Build Portal plot finder
- Greenshifters lists smallholdings for sale, for rent and wanted
- Buildstore have an interesting service called Plotshare whereby a large chunk of land can be split down into smaller individual plots if several people are interested at the same time.
- A couple of companies in Bristol have recently emerged from the Ashley Vale development.
- Zoopla can tell you what houses have been selling for in any particular area. They and similar sites link to the Land RegistryPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5