Skip to main content

Backland Development & Tandem Planning

The development of land set back behind existing properties

Backland Development & Tandem Planning

Backland development (often referred to as tandem development) refers to the development of land set back behind existing properties (often existing houses). It generally refers to the utilisation of brownfield or garden land, often landlocked or with limited street frontage.

While many developments, including outbuildings and annexes, may comply with local planning policy. Creating a self-contained use or a separate planning unit on garden/backland development as a tandem arrangement is often contrary to local planning policy. This distinction often becomes less clear where land already has existing buildings or dedicated access, particularly if existing buildings are suitable for conversion and have a lawful commercial use.

As specialist planning consultants we have considerable experience and expertise in a wide range of backland development or tandem projects in garden land or brownfield plots.


The issues with backland development

While some local authorities, particularly in cities including London may have pro-active policies to allow such tandem development; many authorities do not.

The main concerns are often access, garden size, overdevelopment, intensification, noise and impact on neighbouring properties, with applications potentially generating objections from neighbours. Our experience of backland development and tandem sites can guide you through this complex area of planning.

Developing on backland plots can have advantages. Such developments can release land for housing, specifically for self-build, where otherwise these may have to be considered outside of a settlement boundary.


So Can I Really Build In My Back Garden?

Permitted Development Rights (PDR) cover types of backland development, however, these are generally limited to uses that are incidental to the enjoyment of a dwelling; for example, home offices, gyms, additional living space and sheds.

Where uses are not incidental (for example, Granny Annexes), where PDR is not applicable or for commercial uses (for example hairdressers and dog grooming), planning permission is likely to be required. For more information on outbuildings associated with existing homes, please see here.

Finding land for new development, particularly single or self-build houses is not easy. Land with planning permission is often sold at a premium. Building a new backland development home can be one way of creating a new home, as well as helping to release equity and increase the value of the land.

In London, higher densities are often allowed or encouraged. In more suburban locations where there is pressure for new housing, it is more common to see building on back gardens or on backland sites, especially in predominantly residential areas where development may be looked on more favourably.

From the Case Studies listed on the page, it is clear that in some circumstances, it is possible to build a new home on backland sites, but careful consideration of the design, access, appearance and impact on neighbouring properties is crucial.

At Plande, we can advise on the potential of such plots as well as guide you through the process to give your application the best chance of success.


Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

Get in touch

Whether you need an expert on your team to secure permission for a major mixed-use scheme or a unique self-build home, our fresh planning insights will help you achieve your goal.