16 Aug 2016

Innovative custom build policy adopted by Teignbridge District Council

Innovative custom build policy adopted by Teignbridge District Council

An innovative custom build policy has been adopted by Teignbridge District Council, putting custom and self build firmly on the agenda for local people. The Custom and Self Build Housing Supplementary Planning Document sets out the council’s expectations in delivering custom homes, with a particular focus on providing land for this alternative means of housing supply. It is one of the most progressive, policy-based documents produced in England to date.

Teignbridge DC is one of the original eleven Vanguard councils, selected to bring on custom build, and was also selected to pilot the Right To Build due to its strong track record in promoting self build housing.

The council sees self and custom build as delivering in four key areas:

  • lower cost – and more affordable housing
  • support for the local economy through construction
  • provision of a more resilient and diversified route to home delivery, and
  • encouraging good design and more sustainable construction.

Among the many innovative approaches, the document establishes a policy of all sites over 20 dwellings including at least and allocation of 5% of plots for custom and self build. Currently no other council has committed to a similar policy allocation in this manner.

In addition, the document puts a significant impetus on the delivery of affordable plots and homes, as well as establishing systems and procedures, such as Plot Passports, to facilitate the smooth running of the builds.

“The affordability of housing in Devon is a continuing challenge and delivering housing that is affordable to local families is a priority for this council. I believe that custom and self build housing can play an important part in solving the housing challenge, by complementing the mainstream housing built by large house builders and housing associations,” comments Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Executive Member for Housing and Planning in the foreword.

Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge DC said: “The new policy potentially gives everyone a stake in the game. This is a major boost to enable our people to have a better opportunity in life. Building your own house can be a life affirming experience.

Jeremy Christophers, Leader, Teignbridge Council

Jeremy Christophers, Leader, Teignbridge Council

Editor’s comment

Teignbridge’s Custom and Self Build Housing Supplementary Planning Document is a truly impressive piece of policy that should secure a place at the table for custom build in the area for years to come. In the ever changing world of local government, self and custom build champions come and go with elections, but by putting policy in place Teignbridge has ensured it stays on the agenda. I urge every council and all planners take a look at the documentation, and have a read of Jeremy Christophers’ profile, which sets out the drive behind this impressive achievement.


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