Teignbridge District Council is leading a regional rise in custom build plot allocations on new housing sites, progress which could show signs of sector groundswell.
The biggest recent project to receive Custom Build allowances is a proposed 1,350-home scheme on the outskirts of Exminster, which was initially approved for development in January 2017.
The scheme, covering over 220 acres of land between Alphington Village and Exminster, will include new housing, a doctor’s surgery, community centre and a school.
The scheme is the largest housing project to be approved by Teignbridge District Council during its history, and has taken almost 18 months for the developer, Bovis Homes, to finalise the scheme’s details with authority planners.
Planning was held up by the restrictions of a complex Section 106 agreement, which featured 19 conditions that Bovis Homes must implement on site. These conditions include a minimum of 30 custom build plots, 10% affordable housing provision and a financial contribution to local infrastructure links.
Initial controversy surrounded the fact that the site is only set aside for 15 years, after which time Bovis Homes could retake control for further development. Yet agreements have now been reached to release land for the delivery of a secondary school for the period of 15 years, or up to the delivery of the 1,350 homes, whichever takes longer.
Teignbridge District Council has also approved plans for a second major housing development at Station Hill, Chudleigh.
The 229-home scheme was approved following developers, Linden Homes, revised green space allocation. The scheme now includes a foot and cycleway, allotments and a children’s playground.
Of the 229 homes, 46 will be affordable housing and 11 will be assigned as custom build plots. Outline planning permission for the Station Hill development was granted by Teignbridge back in 2014.
Elsewhere in the UK, KCS Developments has submitted a planning application for 98 new homes in Brayton near Selby, North Yorkshire. The scheme will include 13 custom and self-build plots, 34 affordable homes and a new primary school.
An earlier plan for 110 homes on the site was turned down in November 2017. The 18 acres site is reserved for three and four-bedroom homes, as well as a nursery and green open space.
Phase one of the development was granted planning permission by Selby District Council in 2015 and is currently under construction by Linden Homes.
Words: Jen Grimble Images: lindenhomes.co.uk
This recent rise in councils requiring developments to include Custom Build allocations could be a sign of a much-needed sector groundswell.
Teignbridge District Council has long been supportive of Custom Build, adopting an innovative percentage-based Custom Build policy for its local plan, and winning a sector award for its novel approach to housing.
Percentage rules have been criticised for being an overly-simplistic approach to planning for custom homes, but the fact is that they can work well as part of a coherent approach with the right level of resourcing and in the context of a wider planning strategy.
And Teignbridge is proving this with the amount of sites its permissioning. If other councils take inspiration from it, by allocating custom build into their local developments, we could begin to see a rise in quality, affordable housing in the areas that need it most.