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Government has updated the Planning Practice Guidance on Self-build and Custom Housebuilding, the guidance that supports local authorities as they work to fulfil their duties under the Right to Build legislation.

Published on the 8 February by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the update provides a much-needed refresh to the guidance, originally published to support the original April 2016 legislation (previously updated in July 2017).

The updates strengthen the guidance as a tool for supporting the delivery of custom and self build in the context of the Right to Build. While not an official term, the duties set out by the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, are referred to as the Right to Build.

Improving the outlook for CSB

The updated Planning Practice Guidance brings a number of advantages, particularly in its acknowledgement that self and custom housebuilding embraces a spectrum of projects.

Custom Build Homes analysis of the PPG on Self-build and Custom Housebuilding reveals several points that the new guidance clarifies:

  • That off-plan sales of houses is excluded from the definition.
  • That the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) exemption is applicable for multi-unit and communal schemes.
  • A strengthening of the fact that the self build registers are likely to be a material consideration in planning matters.
  • A need for councils to consider the demand the registers represent, more robustly.
  • The role of public land in bringing on sites.
  • Better use of data to support decision making, including the recommended use of demand assessment tools.
  • Clearer rules around planning policies and the use of registers
  • A stronger emphasis on the potential that custom and self build can have as a route to affordable home ownership.

CSB data now published

To support the commitment to improved data usage, government has published data around the plot permissioning for self and custom build to create a body of evidence drawn from local authorities.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of the National Custom and Self Build Association said: “We warmly welcome the recent activity that builds on Government announcements at the end of last year. The letter to Chief Planning Officers contains a particularly positive statement as to the benefits of custom and self build that I would encourage everyone to read.

“The data helps to highlight the wide variation in numbers on registers due in no small part to the barriers put in place by many authorities. The Guidance helps to create a positive environment and temper some poor practice, and is a step in the right direction.

“Even better news is that there is more to come – with Help to Build, the upcoming grant funded Serviced Plot Fund (Brownfield Land Release Fund) and the wider review of the Right to Build legislation. Spring is on its way.”

Wider support

The updated PPG and newly published data is the latest in a tranche of government support for custom and self build:

Credit: the Build It Education House at Graven Hill – find out more how it can help inform your project

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