Ben's Self Build

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My Name is Ben. I'm 35, married to a wonderful wife with a nine year old daughter. We can't afford to buy the sort of house we want to live in, so I'm planning to build it instead. This is the story, from idea to finished house in five years.

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Building outside the village?

Building outside the village?

Building outside the village boundaries is usually frowned upon by the local planning department. But, I’ve heard tale of a loophole:

If the local council can’t show it is approving enough houses for the demand in their area over five years, they have limited ability to object to new planning applications. I put my question to Mike Date of Build It magazine and here’s the answer.

I have identified a reasonably priced plot that usually would be something to steer clear of – it’s outside (just) a village boundary and on greenfield land. However, the council in question (South Holland) are not currently meeting their five year housing supply requirement.

I’ve read that this means the councils grounds for refusing planning applications are restricted.

In reality, how much of a difference does this make to the viability of a plot like this? Does the lack of a five year supply mean the council are obliged to approve almost anything assuming I don’t plan to build a huge steel pyramid or the like?

I am planning a modest 1.5 storey 2/3 bed. To help with my minuscule budget it would be great to be able to wangle permission on a plot that’s priced with the assumption it can’t be built on!

Many thanks,

Where a council cannot show a five year housing land supply, its housing policies are deemed to be out of date, and so don’t carry their normal weight in decision making. As a result, new housing can be allowed outside housing or built up area boundaries, subject to the location being considered ‘sustainable’.

It helps if there’s a pavement and street lighting between your plot and the village, or possibly public transport – a bus stop or station – that’s easily accessible. It also helps if the plot would still be reasonably contained by other houses, rather than being an isolated feature in open countryside.

Different councils interpret these things in different ways, so it would be worth a scour of applications to see if any comparable schemes have been decided recently, and how they got on.

Bear in mind that the council’s approach to design won’t change as a result of the shortfall, so it’s definitely not a case of ‘anything goes’.

Mike Dade (planning consultant & Build It expert)

My Name is Ben. I'm 34 and married to a wonderful wife with an eight year old daughter. We can't afford to buy the sort of house we want to live in, so I'm planning to build it instead.

How do I find land? How do I finance a build? How do I get planning?  And how do I do it all on a micro budget? This blog is a place for me to organise my thoughts and research as I try and answer those questions. There's a slightly wordier explanation of all this on the What's it all about page.

In my internet travels I've found lots of people that blog about the physical build part of their self build, but very little on the process of getting from the initial idea to the point of starting the build. That's what this site will be focussing on.

You'll find lots more posts on all the different aspects of self building on the front page of this site.

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