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Breathing life into Brownfield - the redevelopment of garage sites

Design & Architecture | Blog

Old, redundant, or little used garage sites can be a great opportunity for contributing towards much needed housing provision. Often located in sustainable central locations they can present scope for further intensification. These underutilised sites present an opportunity to embody sustainable values and dramatically increase biodiversity whilst knitting into existing communities.

The CPRE report ‘Recycling our land: state of brownfield 2021’ notes there is the opportunity for up to 1.5 million new homes on previously developed land. These sites often have little surveillance and can become security issues, attracting antisocial behaviour and a poor urban environment, making them ideal opportunities to improve the local area and positively contribute to the local community and affordable housing need.

How do you know if a site is suitable?

Local authorities and registered providers in particular are becoming increasing interested in these once overlooked sites and In-depth feasibility studies and pre-applications can help appraise a site’s potential for development.

These often encompass a thorough analysis of the surrounding area, including the site accessibility and heritage considerations to determine the best use of the site and any potential opportunities and constraints to development.

A recent project following an in-depth feasibility study led to the preparation of an initial scheme which balanced the site constraints with the requirement for high quality, sustainable and much needed homes. The proposals included dual aspect apartments, an appropriate mix of affordable and private dwellings, compliance with national space standards and the provision of accessible dwellings. This was balanced with the commercial aspects of the scheme to ensure a viable proposal was put forward.

The nature of garage sites can often mean highly constrained sites on a small footprint, in a built up area. The right feasibility study at the outset can look to mitigate issues such as overlooking of adjacent dwellings early, and highlight potential planning risks such as parking or waste management, in addition to any opportunities to improve the safety and quality of the public realm in the surrounding area.

With development space at a premium, a regular review of existing portfolios can help local authorities and registered providers identify any opportunities for development, breathing life into these brownfield sites.

Published: 14th December 2022
Area: Architecture

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Marrons is a multi-service development consultancy backed by the experience of working for local authorities, extensive market intel and connections across the industry - from planning offices and private landowners to housebuilders and retailers.

With expertise in Planning, Architecture, Design, Heritage and Economic Development, you can trust us to lead, protect and enhance the value of your land or building assets ensuring we turn your plans into reality.

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