Planning permission for Self Build
If you want to build your own home, achieving planning consent is the first step
More and more of us are building our own homes. In the face of a national housing crisis with sky high prices and a continuing supply shortage, self build can be the obvious solution for those willing to roll their sleeves up.
Once you have found your plot, whether it's a Greenfield site or a dwelling to be replaced, the next step is to secure planning permission. Planning is an integral part of the design process and will very much be step by step. Planning and design potential are always site-specific, but here are some tips for success:
Understand your site. Ensure that you understand the potential of your plot. Have a Planning Appraisal undertaken pre-purchase.
Seek Pre-Application Advice. Engage with your Local Planning Authority as early as possible. You can even submit a request for Pre-Application Advice before you complete your purchase. It is a good idea to have some indicative sketches drawn up of both the site layout and elevations. Think broadly about scale, layout and materials at this stage. The LPA's response should include an indication of planning fees, what specialist surveys may be required and what other information you will have to provide.
Prepare full plans. Once you have confirmation that the principle of what you are proposing is acceptable, you can proceed to develop and finalise your design. Remember, many planning officers will be more than happy for you to go back and run plans past them before they are finally submitted.
Submit application. When you are ready, the planning application can be submitted. Once in, the first stage is validation where all the plans and other documents are checked. This takes anything from a few days to weeks. You will be notified if there are any issues or if more information is required. Once the Validation Team are happy, the application is then registered and the determination process begins. This should take 6-8 weeks.
Consultation Period. The various consultees including nearby residents and statutory consultees have 21 days to comment on the application. Your Town or Parish Council will discuss your proposal during this time. Try to discuss your plans with neighbours and attend the Town or Parish Council meeting when your plans are considered if possible.
Engage with your planning officer. If you have sought Pre-Application Advice, hopefully the Consultation Period will have gone smoothly. There may, however, be issues which the process highlights. Perhaps visibility from the access could be improved or local people have concerns about how their amenity might be affected. Once the Consultation Period is over, make contact with your planning officer to see if they have any concerns. If so, you may be given the chance to respond and/or to make amendments to the plans to overcome any objections.
With luck, all will go smoothly and permission will be granted. If not, all is very far from lost:
Permission granted! Great, you can start to plan the build.
Make sure that you discharge any conditions - this usually requires at least one Discharge of Conditions application.
Don't forget CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) - especially if you are applying for Self Build Exemption. This is not automatic and must be applied for. There is also a CIL Commencement Form and you will be fined £2,500 if you don't complete and submit it!
Make sure you understand any time limits. How long do you have to commence? Do you have a set time period to complete?
Refusal. Even if the planning officer is recommending refusal, you still have options.
You may be able to get your application to be decided at Committee. If you have significant local support, your Town or District Councillors may make the decision.
When your refusal is issued the Decision Notice will include a Reason for Refusal. This is actually very useful, as it will give you a clear indication of what aspects of the scheme were not acceptable. You can then prepare and submit a revised application which overcomes the Reason for Refusal. If you resubmit within 12 months of refusal, there is no fee.
If you think that the Reason for Refusal is unreasonable, you can appeal. There is no charge, though appeals usually take at least 6 months.
Applying for planning permission is very much more complicated than it ever has been. Gone are the days when you could submit plans drawn on the back of an envelope and expect a decision 8 weeks later. You will almost certainly need location plans, site plans, floorplans, elevations and sections as a minimum. You may also need an Ecological Appraisal, a Planning Statement, an Access Statement, a Tree Survey, a Noise Assessment, a Landscape Study...
If 2022 is your 'Year of the Self Build', good luck - and we are here if you need us.