Models Individual Opportunities – Council Initiated

A local authority delivers serviced building plots on land it already owns or acquires for the purpose. It then provides access roads and utility connections to the plot boundaries and sells ‘de-risked’ plots (with the principle of planning permission already established) directly to individual private homebuilders. It may decide to go further than the creation of plots, by offering ‘shell’ homes for individuals to fit out, or other options.



  1. Check demand
  2. Check viability
  3. Identify land

Planning, design
& finance

  1. Assemble project team
  2. Develop design code and plot passports
  3. Arrange development finance
  4. Market the plots

Ground works

  1. Prepare ground and put in access road
  2. Coordinate utility installation
  3. Continue to market the plots

Home build

  1. Sell plots
  2. Monitor build out
  3. Continue to market the plots
  4. Return to add top coat to access road


Land Owner
Private Homebuilder

Briefing Notes


Be sure you know the level and type of demand – analyse those on your Register.


There are many ways you can identify or secure land for serviced plots.Click here to view >


What do local plots currently go for? Can you deliver yours for this price or less?


Assemble a good team – including procurement, marketing, legal, finance and project management.


Tight planning controls, or light touch? The role of Design Codes and Plot Passports.


There is Government help available – and there are other ways of getting finance too.


It needn’t be expensive but you do need to be very clear about what you are selling.


Someone has to oversee the whole project, including sales, finance and delivery.


All construction work needs to be managed – don’t underestimate what is involved.


You may have to carry on marketing some plots after others have sold.


You may need to return to site to add a top-coat to the access road after the last home has been built.


You may have to carry on marketing some plots after others have sold.



  • You have direct control of the whole process
  • You may be able to provide some very affordable plots
  • You may be able to generate a surplus on the sale of plots


  • It’s risky – costs can soar if you uncover below ground snags
  • You need a wide range of skills, and the process can be resource intensive


Adapting this approach

Some local authorities have adapted this generic approach. For example, in order to provide more affordable opportunities, some councils have offered plots on a leasehold or shared equity basic; others have explored a ‘Build Now Pay Later’ option. Several have set up a Community Land Trust to help retain affordability into the future.

Councils have also resourced the delivery of serviced plots in a variety of ways – for example, by teaming up to create a more cost effective, dedicated unit.

If a council already has land of its own it is fairly easy to then directly deliver serviced plots. Councils that don’t have land may have to work with others to release opportunities via the planning system, or they can buy land to then split into plots. In most cases the cost of organising plots can be fully recovered; indeed some councils have generated helpful additional revenues from their plot sales.

This Toolkit provides lots of information on how to deal with all the issues.

Further Information

You may also be interested in how councils can work with the private sector to ‘outsource’ the delivery of serviced plots – see Briefing Note  Working with partners to facilitate opportunities or Model Individual Opportunities – Working with Others.

Case Studies

The model above is generic. In reality every project is different and you may find these Case Studies useful reference points.