• Compare agents
  • Online valuation
  • Explore my area
  • Home toolkit
  • News & guides
  • Estate agents by area
  • Sold house prices by area
Estate agents by area
Search by Location or Name
  • Selling guides
  • Estate agent guides
  • Mortgage advice
  • Conveyancing guides
  • Property news
  • See All News & Guides
Sign in
Agent shortlist
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. What is amenity land?
Add value to your home
17 January 2024

What is amenity land?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
What is amenity land?

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is amenity land?
  2. 2. Who owns amenity land?
  3. 3. The importance of amenity land
  4. 4. Can I build on amenity land?
  5. 5. The application process for building on amenity land
  6. 6. Legal fees for obtaining amenity land
  7. 7. Summary: All for one and one for all!

Does your property sit adjacent to a patch of grass or an open green space? Not sure who owns it? There's a chance that this is residential amenity land. In this article we take a closer look at amenity land - who owns it and who can build there - and whether you too can build there.

What is amenity land?

Amenity land is green, unfenced land that borders residential dwellings. It serves to enhance the aesthetic appeal and greenery of neighbourhoods. It's not unusual to find dog walkers, families and friends making use of these public areas.

Who owns amenity land?

Amenity land is typically owned by the council for the purposes of providing recreational benefits to adjacent property owners. If you're unsure who owns the land, you can always check HM Land Registry to see if the title or deeds are available.

The importance of amenity land

Green spaces are like the friendly gathering spots of local communities. They act as a sort of 'breathing space', nestling among homes, encompassing parks, playgrounds, and other inviting public areas. They significantly boost the quality of life in UK towns and cities.

Let's take a look at the some of the other benefits amenity land has for the local community:

1. Increased property value

Proximity to well-maintained amenity land can have a positive impact on the value of local real estate. Homes near such land are more attractive to potential buyers, who are willing to pay a premium for cheerful suburban settings.

2. Mental health

Access to green spaces has been linked to improved mental health and well-being. Having areas for relaxation and reflection reduces stress and promotes a healthier lifestyle.

3. Aesthetic and environmental value

Green spaces enhance the visual appeal of neighbourhoods, providing a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and contributing to a more pleasant living environment. They also encourage environmental sustainability by absorbing carbon dioxide, providing shade, and helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

4. Recreation and leisure

Amenity land provides spaces for recreational activities such as walking, jogging, picnicking, and playing sports. These activities contribute to the physical and general well-being of local residents.

Can I build on amenity land?

Sadly not. You may wish to extend your property onto amenity land, but residents are limited to a maximum of 28 days a year for semi-permanent structures. This is usually seen in the form of festivities, lemonade stands and car boot sales.

To build permanent structures on amenity land you first need to apply for planning permission to purchase the land from the council...but this can be a long road. Councils are reluctant to sell amenity land to residents.

Why are councils reluctant to approve planning permission for amenity land builds?

There's a number of reasons why councils don't like approving planning permission for amenity land builds...

  1. Community: Amenity land can play a big role in the community. Your local authority may be reluctant to infringe upon public spaces enjoyed by multiple households.
  2. Long term planning: Councils adhere to specific urban planning and local planning policies to maintain balanced development in the community. Selling amenity land to homeowners for private builds might conflict with these regulations and disrupt the planned use of land.
  3. Environment: It's the prerogative of the local council to maintain the natural integrity of rural areas and open spaces. Allowing a homeowner to extend their property into amenity land might contradict these efforts.
  4. Public opposition: Lastly, because amenity land is a shared space and planning applications are open to public inspection, other neighbours or homeowners may challenge the application.

The application process for building on amenity land

The road to building on amenity land isn't an easy one. While we've outlined the key steps below, it's worth getting in touch with a professional, like a local planning consultant. They'll be familiar with the guidelines in your area, allowing for a more appropriate application that's more likely to be accepted.

1. The initial application

This step involves initiating the planning application process with the local council. It's about expressing your interest in acquiring or licensing amenity land and providing the council with essential information.

Your initial application needs to outline...

  • Your purpose: Clearly state why you want the land and what you plan to do with it.
  • Details: Provide the address, size, and features of the land you're interested in.
  • Use of land: Explain how you intend to use the land, such as for living or recreation purposes.
  • Environmental impact: If applicable, share any efforts to minimise the impact on the environment.
  • Community benefit: Describe any positives your use of the land may have for the local community.
  • Finances: Show that you have the financial means to acquire or license the land.
  • Legal compliance: Ensure your plans follow all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Timeline: Provide a realistic schedule for the acquisition process.
  • Supporting documents: Include any extra documents that support your application.
  • Contact information: Give accurate contact details for easy communication.

Providing this information helps the council understand your initial proposal and evaluate the eligibility of the land for sale or licensing.

2. Your location plan

Upon receipt of the application, the council will provide the applicant with a location plan. You must use the plan to specify the desired area of the land. The location plan must be returned to the council for thorough assessment.

3. Preliminary assessment

The council will conduct a preliminary assessment to ascertain whether the proposed land acquisition can proceed. In certain instances, the land may not be owned by the council or legally available for sale, leading to an early conclusion of the application process.

4. Application fee

You're obligated to submit a non-refundable application fee (£50). This fee covers the council's administrative expenses associated with processing the application. If the sale is agreed upon, the fee is deducted from the overall costs upon the completion of the transaction.

5. Surveyor inspection

The council thoroughly examines its property records and appoints a surveyor to conduct a land inspection. Subsequent to the inspection, the council will provide you with a letter detailing the findings and the costs associated with purchasing or licensing the land.

6. Planning permission

While Step 1 (Your initial application) focuses on declaring your interest and providing basic details, Step 6 requires a more detailed assessment and application for planning permission.

This involves confirming your decision in writing and formally applying for permission to change the use of the land. This step ensures that your plans align with local planning regulations and that the local authority approves the intended use of the land.

After it's obtained permission, the council's legal services team concludes the transaction, finalising the purchase or granting of the licence.

Application£50 + VAT
Legal£300 (varies)
Homes England feeApproximately £1000
PlanningRefer to planning portal
Public open space statutory noticeApproximately £200

Let's take a look at the costs involved in obtaining planning consent for amenity land…

Summary: All for one and one for all!

Amenity land shouldn't be taken for granted - it's a valuable asset for the local community. That's why if you're planning on extending your garden or property into amenity land, your plans will most likely be rejected. But if you ever feel an itch or compulsion to build on it, and think you have a fair shot of succeeding, get started by checking the Land Registry and finding out if the council owns the green space.

How much
is your home worth?

It’s always worth knowing the value of your home. Discover the price of your property with an instant valuation. GetAgent tracks the figures, so you don’t have to.

How much
is your home worth?

It’s always worth knowing the value of your home. Discover the price of your property with an instant valuation. GetAgent tracks the figures, so you don’t have to.

Compare estate agents

It takes 2 minutes.

Related posts
How to tell if your home has asbestos (UK)
We'll take you through the common building materials that contain asbestos, as well as signs to look out for if you're worried about potential exposure.
Read more
The Estate Agent comparison site
GetAgent LinkedIn iconGetAgent Facebook iconGetAgent X icon

For agents

  • Login
  • How to join

Get in touch

020 3608 6556

Our lines are closed

We are a company registered in England & Wales, company number 09428979.

Privacy policyTerms of use

Copyright © 2024 GetAgent Limited