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    We have some interest surrounding self-build and the sites mainly in discussion are all considered rural exception sites. Myself and colleagues are unsure of how to proceed, because we’re unsure if a Housing Needs Survey needs to be completed to satisfy policy, which states there must be evidenced demand of housing need, or if the register itself provides enough evidence of this demand?

    Has anyone got any experience of delivering self-build on rural exception sites? Or any advice they can share on how they think we should proceed?

    Thank, Roisin


    Roisin- we assume you have had a look at our briefing note at:

    Affordable housing and exception sites

    How you proceed on this matter should be informed by the new legislation and the policy in the NPPF, in addition to your local development plan policy of course.

    The NPPF is clear that RES’ should seek to address the needs of the local community. Para 54 of the Framework provides your authority with flexibility to consider self and custom build housing on such sites for a variety of tenures (the toolkit provides examples), particularly when combined with the policy at para. 50 and 159 of the Framework which refers to meeting the need for people wishing to build their own homes. This is therefore material to any action you take.

    More fundamentally however, the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) now places a LEGAL DUTY on your council to have regard to your register in exercising your planning and other functions and then to make sufficient permissioned serviced plots available to meet demand on the register on a rolling annual basis. This enables you to consider RES’ as a delivery tool and to use the evidence of demand on your register to inform any planning decisions on such sites. Depending on the information which your register has collected (eg. numbers of people on the register; affordability; whether people are on a local housing waiting list etc.) it should give you enough information to inform a decision about the sites in question. If it doesn’t you could develop your register further and go back to those who have registered asking for more information. You might of course also want to supplement this with other local affordable housing need information, including any up to date SHMA evidence.

    If you want to look at some examples of custom/self build RES approaches, try Nick Wood in Shropshire, Alex Lessware in Teignbridge or alternatively Purbeck and Torbay councils who all have RES policies.

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