Lin Cousins

A new planning assessment tool is under development to support local authorities as they evidence the long-term demand for custom and self-build housing.

Developed by housing and planning consultancy Three Dragons in conjunction with NaCSBA, the new tool will help councils plan for custom and self build housing and the plots they need to permission under their Right To Build legislation duties.

The tool is designed to help flesh out the shorter-term evidence that the Right To Build registers currently provide, and will be piloted by select councils over the next few months before a potential spring 2018 launch.

As part of a wider complement of evidence-gathering strategies, the tool will produce summarised reports for custom and self-build by district/housing market area. In addition to its core aim of assessing demand it will also provide national legislative context and policy expectations, as well as a clearer local picture, by authority, regarding local policy and register sign ups.

It’s also being designed to work with the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMAs) and will create recommendations for next steps that councils can take to help meet the evidenced demand.

The Right To Build registers themselves are relatively short-term evidence tools, and are expected to be used as part of a wider planning approach to the National Planning Policy Framework. The new tool will work more in line with longer-term goals, creating an evidence base for timeframes between five to 15 years.

In addition to basic local demand, the tool will also attempt to deliver more drilled down information into the types of routes people want to follow, different approaches to plot delivery, data about affordability and cohousing projects for associations of people.

“Current practice has shown that local registers provide a short-term supply-led picture and can be a significant under-representation of latent demand, unsuitable to inform longer-term site allocations and policies in local plans,” says Lin Cousins, Director, Three Dragons, pictured at the recent Right To Build Summit.

“There is therefore a need for a tool to help local authority planners gather enough evidence to enable them to plan confidently for Custom and Self Build housing, helping them make informed planning decisions.”

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