Housing and Planning Bill

Written evidence submitted by Roger and Jane Clemas, Directors of Berrow Developments Ltd (HPB 20)

 

May we respectively make the following suggested additions to Chapter 2, Self Build and Custom Housebuilding of the Housing & Planning Bill 2015 for consideration by the members of the Parliamentary Committee.

1. Register of Persons seeking to acquire land to build a home

Some planning authorities will be reluctant to publicise the right of residents and people working in their area to register with the Council that they wish to be provided with a serviced plot of land to build a new home.

 

There needs to be a clause/section inserted in the Bill requiring planning authorities to publicise people's right to apply for registration in the local press and on their website.

Alternatively, this guidance could be included in statutory instrument/regulations issued after the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

 

This should be in addition to any national advertising campaign to be undertaken by the Department for Communities and Local Government

 

2. Sustainability Testing

 

If the Government is to get anywhere near the level of Custom Build provided in other European countries and custom build is to make a meaningful contribution towards the national housing shortage, then a clause needs to be inserted in the Bill to ensure planning authorities do not re fuse permission for custom/self- build on the grounds of unsustainability.

 

The Government has clarified the position relating to planning permission for the conversion of agricultural buildings in their on line Revised Planning Practice Guidance of 5th March 2015, which makes it clear that a test in relation to sustainability of location should not be applied in determining permission for barn conversions

 

Many self-builders aspire to build their homes in edge of village locations, where travel to local amenities such as primary school,village shop, pub,church, village hall, recreation ground etc are within a reasonable cycling or walking distance.

Unfortunately, TV programmes, such as Grand Designs, have painted an untrue picture of the more modest aspirations of the majority of potential custom/self-builders.  

 

Villages and hamlets often lack pavement access to these amenities but footpaths or bridle ways provide alternative access.

Hard surface routes are often absent in rural settlements, but perfectly acceptable public footpaths and bridle ways that are used by walkers wearing wellington boots or walking boots are the norm in providing pedestrian routes to village centres.

 

Furthermore, it has recently been reported in the press that there was a 50% increase in the number hybrid and electric vehicles registered in 2014.

The need to use a car, to get to shops, work and school etc due to the lack of public transport in rural locations, is often used by planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate to justify refusal of planning applications. Less weight should be placed on this than is currently the case, as numbers of this type of vehicle will rapidly increase in the years ahead.

November 2015

Prepared 10th November 2015