2. What are Small Sites?
2.1. What are small sites?
Small sites are those that fall below 0.25 hectares in size. That is 2,500 square metres (sqm), or just under a third of the size of a standard football pitch. Note that the guidance contained in this document is also applicable for the development of sites which are marginally above this figure.
There is no minimum size, though it is hard to imagine a site of less than, say, 50sqm being developable.
Carefully designed, and in appropriate locations, a 0.25 hectare site might provide as many as 35 new homes, assuming a density of around 140 homes per hectare. This compares with typical suburban density of around 21 homes per hectare.
A small site might be:
- An area of low density, for example backlands, where demolition and redevelopment of low-density dwellings or former industrial premises can provide additional homes
- Infill sites, that may never have been previously built upon
- Extensions and alterations to existing homes enabling a new home to be created, allowing new generations to stay in the communities they grew up in
Small site development can benefit not just incoming residents, but existing residents too. Suburban intensification through an increase in density can enhance existing places, through new infrastructure and improved local services.
It is worth noting that some of the densest parts of London, including Bloomsbury, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, are among the most desirable places to live in the capital.
2.2. Site Types
Five primary site categories have been identified, drawn primarily from the Local Plan Policy DM11 and the emerging Local Plan Policy QD 11, with the addition of a conversion and extension category. This allows us to better link the SPD back to Lewisham’s key policies.
The five categories are:
- Conversion and extension
- Garden lands/ back gardens
Within each of these categories we have defined a series of site types. The categories have been tested and refined by testing real sites in Lewisham through them to ensure that all can be matched to at least one category.