Self- and custom-build homes included in draft Welsh Planning Policy

The draft Welsh Planning Policy (Edition 10) has included self- and custom-build, with the Welsh government launching a consultation to allow the public to have their say.

Planning Policy Wales sets out land use planning policies, with supplemented Technical Advice Notes (TANs) providing detailing advice on each specific subject. The new draft states that planning authorities “must also consider the opportunities for self-build and custom- build options to contribute to the delivery of the proposed housing.” To support the proposals, the Welsh

government have published a Consultation Document online that asks for feedback on the proposed changes. Any responses must be submitted by 18 May. Both the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and the Right to Build Task Force have held meetings with the Welsh government to highlight the importance of diversifying housing delivery. Wales currently has one of the lowest levels of self- and custom-build in the UK, with the Right to Build legislation not in force and no current plans to bring it in. The Consultation Document and how to respond can be found online at the following URL:

Developer Redrow objects to self- and custom- build homes at York site

Redrow Homes (Yorkshire) has objected to the inclusion of self- and custom-build plots in its application to the City of York Council for 970 homes. The 146-acre site had already been allocated for housing in the draft Local Plan. The Planning Case Report for the site by Johnson Mowat says the scheme is “not suitable” for self-build, despite local draft policy advising that at least 5 per cent of plots should be allocated to self and custom-build or small developers. The Planning Case Report cited a number of reasons why Redrow felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to allocate the suggested 49 plots to self- and custom-build. These included: • Self- and custom-build plots are “likely to prevent comprehensive development and result in plots remaining undeveloped”. Redrow believes such underdevelopment could lead to “anti-social behaviour”

• Self- and custom-build housing would differ from the design theme of the rest of the development, and if design consistency requirements were imposed “it is unlikely this would be attractive to self- or custom-builders”

• The “estate” nature of the development wouldn’t be attractive to self- and custom-builders • There would be “complications” relating to having various contractors onsite, other than Redrow’s main contractor, “increasing risk/liabilities and reducing efficiency”

• It would be “inefficient” for Redrow to have to build on the allocated plots should they not be developed for self- or custom-build within 12 months.

The National Custom & Self Build Association commented that Redrow’s concerns showed “a misunderstanding of how self- build operates” and that “design and time restrictions” can be implemented to combat the reasons given. Redrow spokesman Matt Grayson told Custom Build Strategy that Redrow “recognise that homes of all kinds are needed to help solve the housing crisis and get more homes built. As far as self-and custom-build is concerned our approach is to consider each site on its merits and we have already committed to three custom-built homes within a pilot project at one of our developments.”

Grayson also explained that plans for this site follow a “garden village” style and that a development of this scale will be better managed as a whole by Redrow.

march/april 2018 5

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