Garden communities toolkit

Site feasibility

How to test if there are suitable, available and deliverable locations and sites for a garden community.

How to identify a location and site for a garden community

You can find suitable locations for your project in number of ways:

  • use the Local Plan process to show public, landowners, and promoters that the local authority is exploring the potential of  a garden community in the area . You can do this with a call for sites search

  • work with neighbouring authorities to see if there are opportunities to work together to respond to housing need

  • use the housing and economic land availability assessment (HELAA) to identify potential site options. You can find information on the HELAA process on the GOV.UK website

  • review sites being actively promoted by a landowner and/ or developer

  • do research to identify locations suitable for a large scale garden community development

Site suitability, availability and deliverability

Consider the following when assessing if a location and site is appropriate for your development.


  • opportunities to accommodate the scale of development required

  • role and function in the context of the local settlement hierarchy

  • the opportunities for development with existing or planned infrastructure - like rail stations and other major transport links

You’ll also need to understand:

  •  the physical and environmental limitations of the site and its context - like access, contamination, flood, location of infrastructure and utilities, environmental constraints, and how feasible is it to address these.

  • potential impacts of development, like effects on landscape, ecology and biodiversity and the scope for mitigating these and making net environmental gains

  • planning constraints such as green belt designations

  • proximity and nature of neighbouring uses


You need to understand:

  • what the landownership and promoter’s position is

  • the level of interest the landowner(s) has in developing a garden community on their land

  • the delivery record of developers or landowners involved in respect of large scale complex developments


  • identify any factors that can prevent the development coming forward

  • check for any physical, legal, planning or other barriers which can prevent or delay development of the site 

  • confirm your viability testing supports delivery of the quality expectations of the garden community and the infrastructure and services it needs to deliver

  • make sure your timescales for delivery align with the need for local housing delivery

Further information