SearchLand launches new search tool for permitted development sites


Proptech startup SearchLand has launched a new tool to allow developers to search for permitted development (PD) sites.

SearchLand is used by developers, investors, architects and anyone else looking for sites to develop on. It layers disparate sources of data, from land ownership and boundaries to planning permissions and prices paid, on top of satellite image maps, with intuitive search functionality.

The new upgrade to its software-as-a-service platform makes it quicker and easier for users to find sites that have PD rights. This means certain building works and changes of use can be carried out without the need for a full planning application.

PD rights were introduced by the UK Government as part of its target to ensure 300,000 new homes are added to the national housing stock every year. The Government says that in the five years to March 2020, change-of-use PD rights created 72,687 new homes.

PD rights are designed to be temporary, allowing the government to correct imbalances in the property market. For instance, in the case of Class MA (mercantile to abode), this PD right is an attempt to take brownfield stock from languishing high streets and convert into much-needed residential property.

SearchLand aims to increase the number of developers accessing PD sites and, in turn, boost housebuilding activity in order to address the UK’s housing crisis – its class MA permitted development tool currently has 27,599 opportunities identified. The update comes as SeachLand continues to break ground in its mission to disrupt the site sourcing process through automation and the more intelligent use of data and technology.

SearchLand’s PD tool works by cross-referencing a range of datasets, including use class, planning constraints and internal measurements to identify sites that meet predefined criteria. It automates and thereby significantly accelerates developers’ search for viable plots of land.

Hugh Gibbs, co-founder of SearchLand, said: “The addition of the PD tool is a really exciting moment for SearchLand. Our site sourcing solution is already providing many developers with a competitive edge, but the ability to now rapidly pinpoint PD sites through our platform is another significant step forward.

“Planning permissions are a major stumbling block for developers. PD sites lower that risk, hence they are so highly sought after. So, as well as helping developers hunt down that proverbial needle in the haystack, SearchLand is pleased to be aiding the UK’s housebuilding efforts.”

Founded in 2020, SearchLand is working to automate the entire site sourcing workflow, from site identification to landowner engagement. As site finding becomes increasingly competitive, being able to speed up the process is going to be essential for site finders to remain competitive in the coming years.