Teignbridge District Council, hailed a “trailblazer” in self- and custom-build homes, is to share its experience with Mid Devon District Council in order to help more people build their own homes. Charles Acland, self build officer at

Teignbridge will offer expert advice and support. This is being funded through the Government’s “new burdens” payment for self- and custom-build, and will be provided by the Right to Build Task Force.

Acland is an experienced self-builder and Right to Build Task Force expert. He will be working with Mid Devon District Council two days a week for six months. He commented: “This work will help Mid Devon District Council increase the number of planning consents for serviced custom- and self-build plots, using lessons learned from Teignbridge’s experience over the last six years.”


Pair of “courtyard houses” completed, reusing a small south London site

Architects FORMStudio have announced the completion of two new homes in Southwark created in response to the Mayor of London’s policy to optimise the reuse of small sites across the city. The courtyard houses are located on a tight, irregular brownfield plot, previously occupied by a metal workshop. The site had narrow access, outlook and daylight issues, and these constraints “directly determined” the form and fenestration of the two storey, three bedroom family homes, said the architects.

The houses have a barrel-vaulted

profile and are semi-submerged in order to mitigate visual impact. On the east side, where the boundary is closest

© Bruce Hemming

to the existing terraced houses, the first floor is set back, creating a sedum roof. The windows are orientated to the south, taking advantage of unrestricted views, maximising natural light and avoiding overlooking. The living spaces on the ground floor open onto private courtyards. The ground floors are clad in a contemporary pale brick, while the upper

Carine06 from UK/Creative Commons

British number one tennis star Johanna Konta has had a self-build planning application refused under conditions set out in the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Konta put in an application for a four-

bedroom timber-framed house to replace an existing bungalow she owns on a 8,830 m2 Sussex.

site in ancient woodland in East

Ancient woodland is given the highest level of protection under the new NPPF, which states that councils must refuse developments that aren’t “wholly exceptional” if they will be causing the loss of “irreplaceable habitats”. Konta has now submitted a second

application for a slightly lower building and argues in her design and access statement that her proposed replacement design is not only “sympathetic” but also “highly efficient.” The NPPF only allows isolated country homes if the design is deemed to be of “exceptional quality”.


storeys are finished in zinc standing-seam cladding. The materials were chosen to reference the industrial heritage of the site. Malcolm Crayton, director at FORMStudio commented: “The GLA’s draft New London Plan calls for an increased focus on small sites, which need to play a much greater role in housing delivery. Boroughs are encouraged to proactively support well-designed new homes on small sites through both planning decisions and plan making in order to significantly increase the way in which challenging sites can meet London’s housing needs.”

Extension builders more in

demand than ever Homeowners thinking of extending their homes are being advised to plan ahead as builders report being busier than ever before. New research from has shown that extension builders are enjoying “record levels of work”, with waiting times to hire firms extending for several months or even more than a year in some cases. The website, which helps homeowners find tradespeople, reported that 82 per cent of tradespeople surveyed said they experienced “no let up” in their busy workloads through 2018, with 43 per cent reporting that they were taking on even more work than last year. When asked if they were busier now than at any other point in their career, a majority said they were, with more than 43 per cent saying they had more customers than ever before. Only 12 per cent reported a downturn. The average waiting time for prospective customers looking to hire builders to extend their homes is currently between two and four months, though some in- demand firms reported that they were booked up over a year in advance. Trends in extension building are also changing, with builders highlighting some of the most common features they are being asked to include in new projects. Popular additions include bi-fold doors, vaulted ceilings and skylights, and open-plan spaces, particularly when kitchens are involved.

september/october 2018

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