Agenda item

Agenda item

Local Plan Review - Self Build Policy

Report of the Head of Planning and Infrastructure


The Planning Policy Team Manager presented the report to Members.


Councillor D Bigby stated that he supported the conclusion of not identifying specific sites for self-build. He expressed concerns over the policy as he felt that it was quite complex and cumbersome, and sought a better understanding of the word ‘seek’, as it could lead to misunderstanding by the planning committee as to what it meant. He noted that there were forty-four names on the self-build register and asked if the register noted what type of plot those that were interested were looking for, adding that he would be surprised that those on the register would be looking at living on housing estates. He felt that the policy should be modelled on the one that had been adopted by Blaby DC.


The Planning Policy Team Manager advised that in terms of the wording issues, the word seek was not a specific requirement and the wording of the policy would always be supported by text, which would be subject to consultation. In terms of the register, he advised Members that the type of plot required was not logged but the possible settlement location was. He informed the committee that in terms of the policy from Blaby it did not add a great deal to what was in the national policy, but that it would be a decision for the Committee following consultation.


Councillor V Richichi stated that it was a pretty good policy but there were some areas that he sought clarification on. He felt that anyone wishing to self-build would want to do so on a small plot of land not a small-scale housing estate. He noted that some sites where people would wish to build were outside Limits to Development even though the site could fall between two existing properties, asking if there would be any leniency on granting that kind of development. In terms of the self-build register, he felt that it would make the process transparent and highlight the number that wanted to build. He sought clarification on whether there would be more flexibility with self-builds in planning terms and where an application met the small scale application with local connection requirements but lay outside the limits would it be permissible.


The Planning Policy Team Manager informed Members that the Limits to Development would be part of review as they had been drawn tightly and the authority may need to introduce an element of flexibility in regards to small-scale growth, which could include self or custom build developments. He cautioned that it would need careful consideration to ensure appropriate balance. In terms of the register, he noted that it was a requirement to keep one but it was not a published document. Officers could advise members of the numbers on there if requested. He advised that in relation to more flexibility with self-build, the national policy did not allow it and at examination unless strong evidence was provided to show why North West Leicestershire was different to other areas the inspector would be unlikely to support.


Councillor D Harrison stated that it was an interesting report, which drew out aspects that required proper consideration. He felt that up to fifty properties was a large amount to have on a site and noted that historically on a larger self-build site there were often several plots left undeveloped. In regards to the proposal, he felt it was very wordy and longwinded but noted that it was only a suggestion and not written in stone. He expressed concerns over the consideration of the Limits to Development, as the authority did need some flexibility however it was the tool that also controlled where development took place.


The Planning Policy Team Manager clarified that on a development of 50 houses; only a small number of plots would be made available for custom build. He noted the comments where non-development had occurred in the past and advised that the second part of the policy would help to avoid if possible. In relation to the review of the limits, he acknowledged that it was a tricky balance to be struck but assured Members that there would be an opportunity for all Members and the committee to see the suggested amendments


Councillor J Bridges stated that due to health and safety requirements self or custom build would not be allowed on large housing developments.


Councillor J Legrys advised that he was supportive in ways but mirrored the comments of others in relation to the Limits to Development. He stated that in his personal view he would prefer not to have a policy on the self-build at all as in the area that he lived a number of residents had built in their gardens but the applications did not state that they were self-builds. He expressed concerns over allocating land for self-builds as it would sterilise the land for future development in relation to available land supply. He advised that he would prefer Blaby’s policy but did not want to make rod for authority’s back.


The Planning Policy Team Manager understood the comments around building in own gardens being classed as self-builds however, the argument did not appear to be accepted by inspectors at appeal that  the authority was  meeting targets unless the application specifically referred to self and custom build. In terms of the policy, he urged Members to wait until the consultation had taken place and then the Committee would decide what it wished to do.


In response to a question from Councillor R Johnson, the Planning Policy Team Manager advised that thought would have to be given to how the self-build policy would fit together with policy H6 of the adopted Local Plan as policy H6 would need to be reviewed itself.


The officers recommendation was moved by Councillor D Harrison, seconded by Councillor J Legrys and




1)    The suggested policy on self and custom build set out at paragraph 4.4 of the report be agreed




2)    It be consulted upon in the next round of consultation on the emerging Local Plan later in 2020.



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