Amenity Land

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31 May 2024

Amenity land, or Amenities Land are terms used to describe a small parcel of land, usually grassed and unfenced, that adjoin residential properties.

These areas of land are generally owned by local councils for the purpose of providing open spaces for the enjoyment of local residents. Amenity land can be used for a variety of purposes, including informal recreation, walking, and even as potential extensions to adjacent gardens or properties.

In this insight, we will cover all there is to know about Amenity land, including the chances of financing the purchase by a land mortgage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Amenity land serves as valuable open spaces for communities.
  • Planning permission is required to buy amenity land from a local council.
  • Developing on amenity land can be challenging due to local planning policies, considerations for impact on neighbours and the environment, and the need for sustainability. Factors such as community support, pre-application consultation, and professional assistance can increase the chances of obtaining planning permission.
  • Specialist lenders or mortgage brokers may offer tailored Amenity land solutions or expertise in financing such properties. 

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What Is Amenity Land?

Amenity land is a small piece of land that is usually grassed, unfenced, and adjoining residential properties. This land can vary in size and characteristics but is generally owned by local councils for the purpose of providing open spaces for the enjoyment of local residents.

Amenity land plays a crucial role in maintaining the aesthetic appeal and environmental quality of parks and communities. These open spaces provide residents with opportunities for relaxation, exercise, and socialisation, contributing to a healthier and more vibrant community. Moreover, amenity land can also serve as a habitat for local wildlife, enhancing the biodiversity of urban areas.types of amenity land

Purchasing Amenity Land

In some cases, local councils may consider selling or licencing amenity land to adjacent property owners. This section outlines the general procedure for acquiring amenity land from a local council. Please note that specific processes and fees may vary depending on the local authority.

1. Application

To purchase or licence amenity land, the interested party must first submit an application to their local council. The council will then assess the application to determine if the parcel of land in question is eligible for sale or licencing.

2. Location Plan

Upon receiving the application, the council will typically provide the applicant with a location plan, which they must use to outline the specific area of land they wish to acquire. The completed location plan must be returned to the council for further assessment.

3. Preliminary Assessment

Once the location plan has been submitted, the council will conduct a preliminary assessment to determine if the proposed land acquisition can proceed to the next stage. In some cases, the land may not be owned by the council or legally sold, in which case the application cannot proceed further.

4. Payment of Application Fee

If the application can proceed to a more detailed assessment, the applicant will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee (e.g., £50 + VAT). This fee covers the council's administrative costs in processing the application. If the sale is eventually agreed upon, the fee will be deducted from the overall costs on completion of the sale.

5. Detailed Assessment and Surveyor Inspection

After payment of the application fee, the council will investigate its property records and appoint a surveyor to carry out an inspection of the land. Following the inspection, the council will provide the applicant with a letter outlining their findings, as well as the costs involved in purchasing or licencing the land (if the sale can progress).

6. Planning Permission

If the applicant decides to proceed with the acquisition, they must confirm their decision in writing and apply for planning permission (if necessary) from the local authority. The acquisition will not be completed unless planning consent for the change of use has been granted.

7. Legal Completion

Once planning permission has been obtained, the council's legal services team will complete the transaction, finalising the purchase or grant of the licence.

Summary of Fees

The following table provides an overview of the fees associated with purchasing or licencing amenity land from a local council:

  • Application Fee: £50 + VAT
  • Surveyor Fees: £300
  • Legal Fees: £300 (may vary depending on complexity)
  • Homes England Fee (where applicable): Approximately £1,000
  • Planning Fee: Refer to the Planning Portal
  • Public Open Space Statutory Notice: Approximately £200 (subject to required advert size)

Can You Build On Amenity Land?

In some cases, property owners may be interested in building on amenity land, either by constructing an extension to their existing property or establishing a new dwelling. However, obtaining planning permission for such development can be challenging, as many factors must be considered, including:

Local Planning Policies

Local planning policies may restrict development on amenity land to protect the character and appearance of the area, as well as to maintain public open spaces for the benefit of the community.

Impact on Neighbours

The proposed development must not adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring properties, including issues related to privacy, overshadowing, and loss of light.

Environmental Considerations

The development must not negatively impact the local environment, including the potential loss of habitats for wildlife, increased flood risk, and pollution.


For the best chance of obtaining planning permission, proposed developments should prioritise sustainability, such as by using locally sourced materials and labour, incorporating energy-efficient design, and minimising environmental impact.

Can You Get Planning on Amenity Land?

Yes, but obtaining planning permission on amenity land can be challenging. You'll need to consider the local planning policies,  environmental considerations, and sustainability. These factors must be addressed to increase the chances of obtaining permission for development on amenity land.

While obtaining planning permission for building on amenity land can be difficult, several factors can increase the likelihood of success:

Community Support

Demonstrating support from the local community for the proposed development, particularly if it addresses a need for more housing or improved amenities, can help to strengthen the case for planning permission.

Pre-Application Consultation

Engaging with the local planning authority and seeking pre-application advice can help to identify potential issues and suggest ways to address them, increasing the chances of a successful application.

Professional Assistance

Hiring a planning consultant or architect with experience in similar projects can provide valuable insight and guidance throughout the planning application process.

Can You Get A Mortgage On Amenity Land?

Getting a mortgage on amenity land can be challenging. Most mortgage lenders are reluctant to provide financing for properties categorised as amenity land due to the lack of residential or commercial use. Amenity land is typically considered non-habitable and lacks the necessary infrastructure and permissions for development. However, it's worth consulting with specialist lenders or mortgage brokers who may offer tailored solutions for a land mortgage, or have expertise in financing such properties. Factors such as location, size, and potential future use may also impact the availability of mortgage options.

Alternatively, you could proceed with the financing by using bridging loans, commercial finance, development loans or a bridge to let mortgage, depending on how you intend to use the land.

For more information on Bridging loans for land, consider reading our insight: Can you get a bridging loan to buy land?

Can You Change The Use Of Amenity Land?

Changing the use of amenity land is possible, but it often requires careful consideration and adherence to local planning policies and regulations. The process generally involves researching local planning policies, consulting with the local planning authority, submitting a planning application, undergoing assessments and consultations, and receiving a planning permission decision. 

Amenity land can potentially be changed to various land types depending on the specific circumstances and local regulations. Some possible changes of use for amenity land may include:

  • Residential Use: The land could be converted for residential purposes, allowing for the construction of houses, apartments, or other types of residential dwellings.
  • Commercial Use: Amenity land might be transformed into commercial space, such as offices, retail stores, restaurants, or other commercial establishments.
  • Recreational Use: The land could be repurposed for recreational activities, such as sports fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, or community gardens.
  • Cultural or Educational Use: Amenity land could be changed to accommodate cultural or educational facilities, such as museums, art galleries, or schools.
  • Environmental Use: The land might be transformed into a protected nature reserve, wildlife sanctuary, or green space to promote biodiversity and environmental conservation.

Amenity Land: A Valuable Community Asset

Amenity land plays a vital role in enhancing the quality of life for residents in urban and rural areas alike. These open spaces contribute to the overall wellbeing of communities by providing opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and social interaction. Furthermore, amenity land can support local wildlife and ecosystems, enriching the biodiversity of our towns and cities.

While purchasing or developing amenity land may be an attractive option for some property owners, it is essential to consider the broader benefits of these spaces for the wider community. By balancing individual desires with community needs, we can ensure that amenity land remains a cherished and valuable asset for generations to come.

If you're looking to review your options around financing the purchase of Amenity land, complete the Sunny Fact Find for Commercial Advice. We use your answers to find the best-suited adviser for your needs. Your adviser contacts you to explain how they can help. You decide how to proceed. For more information on buying land, read our insight: Is it worth buying land?


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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