Local Environmental Survey of England

Land Use Definitions

All land uses include publically accessible land which can be managed by either local authorities or private land owners.

Main Retail and Commercial Areas

This land use consists of the main town and city retail and commercial centres. Urban tourist ‘hot spots’, which are wholly or partially separated from a main town or city retail and commercial centre, are also included in this land use.

Main Retail and Commercial Areas contain a choice of outlets in a range of different retail and commercial sectors (such as fashion clothing, financial services, restaurants, bars and entertainment), and will include national and international brand names. Normally, there is also a range of public facilities, including libraries, museums, law courts and places of worship.

Other Retail and Commercial Areas

This land use class covers retail and commercial areas which are primarily located outside main city and town retail and commercial centres (but excludes out-of-town or edge-of-town ‘retail park/retail shed’ developments, which are included with industry, warehousing and science parks).

Other Retail and Commercial Areas usually contain a range of facilities that mainly meet the needs of local residents. Most premises contain individual private businesses, sometimes branches of regional chains (e.g. bakers), and occasionally national brand names. They can also be home to civic facilities, areas of office and hotel development, and areas of mixed retail, office, hotel and entertainment uses.

High Obstruction Housing Areas

Housing areas should be classified as ‘High Obstruction Housing’ if the proportion of dwellings with purpose-built off-street parking facilities is less than or equal to 50%. In these areas, there is a high risk of obstruction to mechanical channel sweeping operations, e.g. obstruction from parked cars. High obstruction housing areas can also include occasional small retail premises, offices, manufacturing, and warehousing sites.

This land use class includes various housing types, such as:

  • - terraced housing
  • - alleyways behind and between housing areas where there is direct access to properties
  • - flats and maisonettes with only limited off-street parking
  • - semi-detached and short terraced dwellings with limited or no purpose made off-street vehicle parking, or parking provision which is not large enough for the use of modern vehicles.

Medium Obstruction Housing Areas

Housing areas should be classified as ‘Medium Obstruction Housing’ if more than 50% of dwellings have purpose-made off-street parking/garaging facilities for up to two  modern-day family cars.

This land use includes housing types such as:

  • - private housing, often where passageways at the side of houses are too narrow for most current-day cars
  • - council housing originally built with no off-street parking, where limited off-street parking has since been provided for some properties
  • - modern developments with limited off-street parking
  • - modern developments of flats with parking underneath
  • - terraced housing with garage facilities or rear access parking for up to two cars.

Low Obstruction Housing Areas

This land use includes all types of housing where more than 50% of properties have purpose-made off-road garaging/parking within the property boundary for three or more cars.  In these areas, there is generally a low risk of obstruction to mechanical channel sweeping operations.

The space available should be capable of accommodating all the parking requirements of residents (including, where applicable, boats and caravans, etc.) and most of the demand from visitors to the premises.

This category includes maisonettes and flats, as long as the parking is contained within the property boundary. In low obstruction housing areas, it is likely that there will be few or no vehicles parked on-street, and significant on-street parking is the exception rather than the rule.

‘Industry’ (Industry, Warehousing, Retail Sheds and Science Parks)

This class includes Industrial and Warehousing developments, out-of-town Retail Parks (including food and non-food developments), and Science Parks (containing offices, laboratories and manufacturing processes).

The following sub-types would be classified as ‘Industry, Warehousing, Retail Sheds and Science Parks’ sites: classic estates primarily dedicated to heavy industry and warehousing, retail sheds and areas with large retail units, hospitals, business/science parks and campus (such as university or college properties). 

Main Roads

Main Roads are all ‘A’ roads. However, if a main road is situated within main retail and commercial, other retail and commercial, or high obstruction housing area, then that transect should be recorded as that land use and not as a main road, due to the potential obstruction caused.

Other Highways

Other Highways are made up of the following:

  • Formal lay-bys, informal lay-bys, stub roads, underpasses, footbridges, un-metalled bridleways, metalled bridleways, narrow routes and alleyways, cycle ways and ‘other’ - this includes any other highway which is not listed above.

Recreation Areas

This land use is a combination of public open space and watersides. ‘Public open space’ includes parks, recreation areas, grassed areas, picnic sites, and paved areas, which are not classed as main or other retail and commercial locations. Officially signed and/or marked public footpaths and deconsecrated cemeteries should also be included in this land use category. ‘Watersides’ includes all publicly accessible areas adjacent to ponds, lakes, reservoirs, canals, rivers and estuaries.

Rural Roads

This class comprises all highways that are located outside built up areas and are not included in the main roads or other highways land use classes, whether ‘rural’ in character or not.