Custom & Self-build SPD

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(1) Policy context

In March 2015, the government enacted legislation (Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015) that placed a requirement on local councils to maintain a register of people seeking to acquire land to build a home for themselves. The government is keen to promote self- and custom building (also sometimes referred to as private homebuilding in government and national publications) as a means of increasing the overall number of dwellings and encouraging the growth of the custom build sector.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016, Chapter 2, set out further legislation relating to self-build and effectively amended the 2015 Act. It included a new section (2a), which required any authority to which the section applied to give suitable development permissions in respect of enough serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding

in the authority's area arising in each base period. The first base period runs from the time the register was established and ends with the date on which Section 10 of the Housing and Planning Act came into force (and every subsequent 12- month period thereafter).

The Act requires local authorities to understand what the demand is in their areas for self- and custom build housing and to have regard to that demand when exercising their strategic planning and other relevant functions.

National Planning Policy Framework

The NPPF, as amended in 2018, includes at para 61, "people wishing to commission or build their own homes" within the list of the different groups whose needs should be assessed and reflected in planning policies.

Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (CIL) defines self-build as a dwelling built or commissioned by a person and occupied by them as their main or sole residence. Under current legislation, self-build dwellings are exempt from the need to pay CIL as long as they are the sole or main residence for at least three years following completion; any move to either sell or rent the property during that period would trigger a retrospective requirement for CIL to be paid by the self-builder.

Warwick district Local Plan

Warwick District Local Plan was adopted in September 2017 and contains a specific Custom & Self-Build Policy.

H15 Custom and Self-build Housing Provision

Proposals for custom and self-build housing in the district are encouraged and will be approved in suitable, sustainable locations:

  1. sites to the south of Coventry
  2. other major strategic housing sites
  3. brownfield sites in built-up areas
  4. growth villages
  5. appropriate locations within infill villages

subject to compliance with all other relevant policy requirements in the Local Plan and national policy, including green belt, historic and environmental designations,

Neighbourhood plans are encouraged to identify sites for self/custom build. The neighbourhood plan may also establish a locally derived design code.

The Council will produce an SPD to assist in the delivery of self/custom build dwellings

The subsequent explanatory texts explains the benefits of custom and self-build and the authority's commitment to encourage developers to bring them forward.

Neighbourhood plans

Under the Localism Act 2011, Neighbourhood Plans can be proposed by relevant Qualifying Bodies, and may propose to alter non-strategic Local Plan policies where a local need can be demonstrated. Policy H15 of the Local Plan is not considered a strategic policy and therefore, where evidenced, Neighbourhood Plans may propose a requirement for the provision of self-build plots.

Following a public referendum on 15 November 2018 the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan was made and its policies came into effect on 16 November 2018. It includes a requirement for self-build plots on the major extension to the east of the town. The policy KNP4 reads that developments at Land East of Kenilworth should follow the following principles…

e) the provision of a proportion of the open market homes as self-serviced plots for self- build and custom build, commensurate with demand evidenced on the local authority self-build register of interest, not exceeding 5% of the total number of dwellings

The policy presented in this SPD for the delivery of plots on larger sites may be a starting point for future Neighbourhood Plans to consider, should they wish to encourage self-build plots in their area.

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