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Grand Designs: derelict properties and land for sale across London — all with planning permission


Given the cost of housing in the capital, it’s little wonder that many Londoners dream of building their own home from scratch.

Innovative, successful examples include eight-foot-wide skinny homes, built in gaps between homes, or those carved out of derelict studios and disused parking spaces.

While shows like Grand Designs document the dramatic ups and downs of hardy self-builders, often boasting staggeringly deep pockets and plots with impressive square footage, urban plots tend to present an altogether different challenge.

And often come at a higher starting price than acres in the countryside.

Nevertheless, old garages and overgrown gardens can provide just the right opportunity for the right buyer. One tiny pocket-sized house on the site of a former garage in south London was shortlisted for RIBA’s House of the Year award in 2019.

We’ve rounded up six of the best London sites with planning consent – plus one with lapsed approval that is likely to be agreed again – for would-be self-builders.

1. Elmfield Road, Balham, SW17



Plots for sale in London with planning permission already secured are few and far between – rarer still are sites in property hotspots like Balham.

Situated a few minutes’ walk from the tube, this compact plot includes plans for a three-storey detached home complete with roof terrace – though first on the agenda is the demolition of an existing studio space.

It’s a way to buy into the borough of Wandsworth, which contains some of the capital’s most covetable neighbourhoods in nearby Clapham, Putney and Battersea.

2. Haven Green Mews, Ealing Broadway, W5



Just up the road from the tube station, this old warehouse on a cobbled mews is hardly making the most of its convenient location.

A stop on the Elizabeth Line’s western section, which runs to Reading and Heathrow Airport, Ealing Broadway will be linked with the full length of the line from November 6.

Permission has been granted for a three-storey house on the site, with an open-plan living space crowned by two bedrooms stacked on top of one another.

3. Field Road, West Ham, E7


Guide price: £220,000

Some of the capital’s most creative new builds are infill houses – properties smartly sandwiched between two existing homes.

Within walking distance of Westfield Stratford and a wealth of transport links, this narrow site has planning permission for a two-bedroom house, which will be built in a similar brick to its neighbours.

It’s due to be sold at auction on September 22.

4. Blenheim Grove, Peckham Rye, SE15

 (Unmod London)
(Unmod London)


Due to the precision of the planning process, sites with approval tend to arrive with a blueprint in tow – giving would-be self-builders a sense of what might be constructed.

Few, though, are as sensational as the pavilion-like home on offer to the buyer of this secluded plot in Peckham.

Situated just off popular Bellenden Road, close to Peckham Rye station, the proposed design features distinctive circular lightwells.

5. Redlands Road, Enfield, EN3

 (McHugh & Co)
(McHugh & Co)

Guide price: £95,000

This parcel of land in Enfield comes with permission to build a two-storey terrace house with off-street parking.

Nestled on the northern fringes of the capital, just east of Lea Valley, the area is popular with young families who value its green spaces and good schools.

The auction is set for September 15.

6. Cross Street, Hampton Hill, TW12

 (Keller Williams)
(Keller Williams)


Located just before London becomes Surrey, Hampton Hill is a leafy corner of Richmond upon Thames, which was last year named as London’s happiest borough.

This infill site, which is currently housing an office, is a few moments from Bushy Park – the second largest of the capital’s eight royal parks.

A previous planning approval has now lapsed but the precedent has been set for approval of a three-storey home.