If you're looking for a site for development, there are a number of factors to consider. When you've found somewhere that you like, you should discuss the area with a local firm of land surveyors to ensure that it's suitable. In the meantime, here are some key selection criteria on which you should base your choice.
If you are planning on building residential dwellings, it's crucial that your site is near to community amenities, including schools, shops, medical facilities and transport links.
In rural areas, check out your immediate neighbours. Dog boarding kennels, noisy car workshops, free-range poultry farms and very busy factory premises can all be a total turn-off for potential residents.
Aspect refers to the direction in which the land faces. Residential dwellings benefit from a northern aspect in order to maximise light and improve the energy rating of your development.
Although you ideally don't want to buy land that is steeply sloping, a gentle slope is ideal as this will facilitate natural drainage down to the street, reducing the risk of storm-water damage and making it easier to incorporate drainage.
The depth of the land available is very important as this will influence how many houses you can fit onto the land. However, the deeper the block of land, the longer the driveway that will be required, adding to the cost of each property.
Bear in mind that if the land has lots of large trees growing on it, you will need to have these cleared before you can begin to build, which can add to your costs. Check also for old buildings that may contain asbestos, especially if these structures are built on concrete slabs that will require removal.
Mining and subsidence
Always carry out research to see if the land has ever been used for mining. If there are old mine works on the land, there may be tunnels underneath it that could cause the land to shift and settle, causing subsidence. Unstable land will require that the buildings on it are underpinned before they can be offered for sale, adding to your costs.
Natural water course
It is extremely important that you find out if there is a water course running underneath the land, which could cause flooding and serious damage during heavy rains. It's worth commissioning a geotechnical report to make sure that you are not buying a world of trouble.