A lot has changed in the planning world over the last 5 years but when it comes to finding a suitable development site, sustainability is still key. A site must be in a sustainable location and just undertaking a sustainable or green build is not normally sufficient to define the development as sustainable.


Other factors such as adequate access and being out of the flood plain and green belt are important, but there are many sites that tick these boxes. Sustainability remains at the core of planning policy and therefore planning officers and inspectors decisions.

So what makes a site sustainable?

At its most basic level sustainable is being within walking distance of:

  • Primary school
  • Convenience shop
  • Regular public transport

This typically means a site will be adjacent to existing housing or built up areas. The development then spreads organically often to natural barriers such as roads, woodland or rivers.

Settlement sustainability has often been considered by the local authority who rank the settlements into categories and so researching this is often a good starting point.  Their assessment is however not always right and there are sometimes different ways of looking at sustainability and so it’s always worth carefully assessing this.


Carver Knowles undertake free desktop site appraisals and developer promotions. If you would like to discuss a potential site in confidence and without obligation, we would be pleased to hear from you.