At present, one of the biggest issues in the UK is the under-delivery of new homes for the growing population. With local authorities facing increased financial pressure, housing associations are not, as they once were, the leading builders of affordable homes. And because developers have opted to pay for affordable housing off-site, fewer affordable homes are being constructed. Moreover, the money goes to the local authority, and they aren’t building homes. It is a vicious cycle that needs breaking.
One solution is the self-build home. For this reason, we’ve provided the following guide to obtaining planning permission for a self-build home.
Before diving into the guide, it’s important to understand why self-build homes can be a worthwhile investment. Here are two primary reasons for seeking planning permission for this type of property.
With more individuals building their own homes, it is expected that self-build homes can create an additional 20,000 homes. The definition of a self-build home incorporates the pillars of inclusiveness, affordability and adaptability. Thus, as some have said, self-build homes may offer the opportunity to solve the homeless crisis.
By developing a self-build home, not only can you help quell the housing crisis; you can invest in your own future by designing a property to fit your needs and price range. To begin with, a self-build homes can be an affordable option, as there are many government incentives. Moreover, a brand new home designed to your liking can put you in an optimal position relative to other homeowners.
Why continue to live in cramped quarters, in an old London property? With a new modern and sustainable home, you can be proud, knowing you’re part of the solution. Your home can be truly yours. Your friends and neighbours may quietly wonder how they, themselves, might pursue such a development.
So let’s dive in. Having a basic understanding of the pre-planning-application process is imperative for a successful build. Below, we will discuss three primary objectives to consider when seeking planning permission for a self-build home.
Finding a suitable site is stage 1. This can be a tricky stage if you do not have land already. The location of your new home will depend on the price. If the site is within Greater London, the price of the land will reflect the desirability of the area. With that in mind, the local authorities are more prepared to grant permission for land that is accessible.
For a thorough breakdown of how to find sites suitable for development, read our informative blog post on the subject. The following are two options you might want to consider when choosing the best land for your self-build home.
Most local authorities will have a self-build register. This is a list of land that the council have identified as being suitable for residential use. The land may be previously developed (brownfield sites) or the council may have specified certain areas where development can occur. Do keep in mind that every single local authority has a certain quota of housing they must provide each year, over a 5-year period. If they have not met this quota, they are more likely to welcome new land to be designated for housing (for example) within the green belt.
You could divide up your family’s land in order to obtain planning permission, but it is best to speak with a planning consultant or architect prior to making a decision. There are many obstacles, but ‘infill developments’ can sometimes be deemed suitable; however, this is highly dependent on the local authority and the design of the building.
Once you’ve found the land, now you need to think about the construction method and the sustainable energies that will fuel the property. As the government has required all new builds to be of a very high construction standard, you should propose at least one or, ideally, a combination of sustainable technologies. This may include solar panels, ground source heat pumps, or rainwater harvesting.
When it comes to the construction of the building, you can also propose a pre-fabrication method, such as SIPS and timber frame, to name a couple. Using a certified build method will increase the U-value of the building (basically how insulated it is) which is required for Building Control of all new buildings.
To get started, you might want to check out the many showrooms operated by prefabrication companies. You can do this prior to speaking with an architect. It’s good to know what you like and what you don’t like before consulting with a professional. If you’re still unsure of what construction methods are available to you, an architect can suggest options based on your budget. With sustainable technologies, you’ll be on the right track for a low-carbon home, which is a big bonus in terms of the planning application.
As with everything in planning, the appearance of a building must fit within the wider context of the area. Whether that means integrating a local material such as stone, or proposing a modern upgrade on traditional architecture, a tasteful and cohesive design is paramount in obtaining planning permission.
When proposing self-build homes, it is likely that you will hope to infill a site, or propose backland development, also called garden development. These are very common types of new build housing development, and when placed in the correct location and built with the right materials, it can fit perfectly into the wider context. One thing to look at are the surrounding materials. With development particularly in the countryside, the homes are typically constructed of local materials. Whether that be using local reeds for a thatched roof, local stone for a dry stone wall, or locally made roof tiles, proposing a design that uses native materials is an excellent addition to paint your planning application in the best light.
Getting the external appearance is incredibly important and this is exactly why you hire an architect to guide you through this process. The biggest obstacle is actually obtaining planning permission, then your new home will be secured and you can see your new home built before your eyes.
At Urbanist Architecture, we have a 97 percent success rate when it comes to securing planning permission. Having obtained permission for more than 500 projects, we are ready to do the same for you. Reach out to us today so we can assist you in developing your dream home.