What is a Brownfield Register?

Posted on 15 October 2020

What is a Brownfield Register?

What is a Brownfield Register?


In light of the UK Government’s recent planning reforms most of us now know what brownfield land is. But what is a brownfield land register?

Every local authority (LA) is required to keep an up to date register of sites that could potentially be suitable for housing development. The sites must fulfil the following criteria:


1.       They must be at least 0.25 hectares or capable of accommodating at least five dwellings

2.       The land must be suitable for housing development

3.       The land must be available for housing development in terms of:

·         the owner having expressed an intention of selling or developing it

·         the developer having expressed an intention of developing it

·         there being no other issues regarding ownership of the land

4.       The LA must be satisfied that development of the land will be achievable within 15 years of the entry date

Registers are then split into two parts:


1.       All brownfield sites that are suitable for development

2.       Those sites that have been granted permission in principle (these will all have been included in Part 1).

What does Permission in Principle mean?


Brownfield land registers can include sites for which planning has not yet been submitted, or for which an application has been submitted but has not yet received a decision. Planning authorities can also grant permission in principle for a site on receipt of a valid application (a completed application form, a site location plan and an application fee).

Once a valid application for permission in principle has been received, the Local Authority is required to make a decision within 5 weeks of the date of receipt.

Alternatively, they can enter a site in Part 2 of their register, which will automatically trigger a permission in principle.

The permission in principle decides whether a site is suitable “in principle”. At this stage the site is only considered in terms of its location, its use and the amount of development proposed.

Once a site has been granted permission in principle it enters a second stage of consideration: it must receive technical details consent, in which the detailed proposals for the development are assessed. It will not be possible to develop the site until the technical details consent has been given.

Once a valid application has been received for technical details consent, the Local Authority must respond within 10 weeks for a major development, and 5 weeks for other types of development.


Is Permission in Principle only for housing schemes?


Non-residential schemes may also receive permission in principle but only if most of the floorspace of the scheme is given over to housing. Also, any non-housing development on such schemes must be compatible with the proposed residential part, i.e. retail, community uses or office space.

Do you want to be a Land Hero and submit a redundant property or parcel of land to your local brownfield land register, providing it fits the right criteria?


Even if it doesn’t fit the national criteria, Land Hero will still assist you by highlighting the opportunity for future development, or alternatively liaise with you over the opportunity to develop the site yourself.


(Source: 14/10/20 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/brownfield-land-registers)

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