Jeremy Christophers

Teignbridge District Council and its GESP (Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) Partners is piloting a new evidence tool for assessing long-term demand for Custom and Self Build. The announcement was made at the recent Right to Build Expo: Unlocking the Potential of Custom & Self Build Housing held in Exeter on March 8.

Jointly developed by the Right to Build Task Force in partnership with planning consultancy Three Dragons, the tool will act as an additional source of evidence to supplement the Right to Build registers. Currently, these present and excellent, but fairly short-term picture of local demand for plots under the Government’s Right to Build legislation.

The new evidence tool will enable local authorities to effectively measure demand on a longer timescale and plan confidently for Custom and Self Build housing. The tool will support councils to make informed planning decisions about the provision of serviced building plots, as required by national planning policy.

The Greater Exeter sub-region, involving East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, Devon County Council and Teignbridge, will be piloting the evidence tool, which will help inform the preparation of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. and is designed to give local authorities a means of assessing a longer-term view of Custom and Self Build demand.

Demand tool report

The evidence tool provides estimates of the demand for Custom and Self Build by district/housing market area, with outputs summarised in a report that includes:

  • the legislative context and national policy expectations;
  • the local authority policy position including relevant information from Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMAs) and the local authority’s demand register; and
  • an assessment of Custom and Self Build demand for the local area, with recommendations for actions and steps the organisation could take to meet this demand.

Teignbridge District Council has a reputation for innovation with Custom and Self Build, having been at the forefront of innovative policy to support the sector since it was awarded Vanguard Council status for Custom and Self Build in 2014.

Teignbridge District Council is working with the Task Force to identify several opportunities to create more serviced building plots to meet the needs of people on its Right to Build register, such as the recently announced Howton Road Custom Build site

This latest round of work cements its position as one of the most forward-thinking local authorities delivering homes in the sector.

Cllr Jeremy Christophers (pictured), Teignbridge District Council Leader and Deputy Task Force Ambassador said: “As a Deputy Task Force Ambassador, my role is to help people understand and embrace the benefits of Custom and Self Build. This means Teignbridge is perfectly placed to be able to pilot the Demand Assessment Tool as a way to help more people live in homes they have built themselves.

“I’m delighted to be involved. The tool is great news for Teignbridge and will help us plan more effectively for Custom and Self Build demand over a longer time period.

“Because Teignbridge District Council has been at the ‘bleeding-edge’ for 6 years, we have saved other councils a lot of time. They can learn from us and be in the same position as we are within three years, if they fully engage with the Right to Build Taskforce without delay.”

Mario Wolf, Director of the Right to Build Task Force, said “I am delighted that Teignbridge District Council and the GESP team have begun to work with us and our partners Three Dragons to further accelerate its ambitious local programme to support more local people to build their own homes.”

“The new evidence tool which is being piloted for the Greater Exeter area will help councils take a longer-term view of demand for Custom and Self Build housing, so they can make better informed planning decisions for their communities.”

Richard Bacon MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Self Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Placemaking and Ambassador for the Task Force said: “It was a pleasure to speak at the Right to Build Expo Exeter, and to learn about the exciting plans which Teignbridge District Council has to work with the Right to Build Task Force on Custom and Self Build.

“Since it implemented its 5% rule for plots on large sites, Teignbridge has been an innovator in its work for the sector, and it’s great to see the council building on this with this announcement.”

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