There’s still time to have your say with regards to Custom Build in the Welsh Planning Policy (Edition 10) consultation, which Welsh Government is looking for responses for by 18 May.
Planning Policy Wales sets out the land use planning policies of the Welsh Government, supplemented by Technical Advice Notes (TANs) that provide detailed planning advice on specific subjects, similar to an English Planning Practice Guidance.
The current draft does include a reference to Self and Custom Build opportunities as part of wider housing delivery. This has been informed by lobbying work done by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and the Right to Build Task Force on behalf of the Custom and Self Build sector about the benefits of diversifying housing supply.
NaCSBA reports that Wales currently has one of the lowest levels of owner-commissioned housing in the UK, and the Right to Build legislation does not apply there.
3.31 Planning authorities must also consider the opportunities for Self-build and Custom Build options to contribute to the delivery of the proposed housing. When promoting Self-build and Custom build development, planning authorities must consider all relevant policy options including the use of Local Development Orders (LDOs) and site specific design codes to simplify the planning process. LDOs and 45 site specific design codes simplify the planning process and can enable housing development to be brought forward more quickly.
The Welsh Government’s Consultation Document is seeking input on the proposed revisions to Planning Policy Wales.
Custom Builders and associated stakeholders should respond to the consultation and lend weight to the argument for the sector references to be retained in the final edition of the Planning Policy. This is regardless of whether they are English or Scottish based businesses, as the offsite nature of much of the sector makes working in a range of locations practical.
In regards to the Custom and Self-build sector, the draft policy contains a statement, with three focused questions for response:
To deliver the new housing it is necessary to diversify the means of delivery by encouraging all types of house builder to contribute, including the Self-build and Custom Build sector. To facilitate this, local planning authorities must provide a range of site sizes when allocating sites in their development plans and must consider the opportunities for Custom and Self-build options, including the use of Local Development Orders.
Q13 Do you agree that to deliver the new housing Wales needs it is necessary for local planning authorities to allocate a range of site sizes, including small sites, to provide opportunities for all types of house builder to contribute to the delivery of the proposed housing? If not, please explain why
Q14 To ensure that small sites are allocated, should there be a requirement for a specific percentage (e.g. 20%) of sites to be small sites? If not, please explain why.
Q15 Do you agree that the Custom and Self-build sector can play an important role in housing delivery, in particular when linked to the use of Local Development Orders and design codes? If not, please explain why.
In one of its own Planning Guidance documents about Draft Planning Policy Wales Edition 10, planning consultancy Barton Willmore commented:
“We see custom and self-build housing as having a real role to play in tackling the housing crisis, broadening the supply of housing, placing the customer at the heart of the design process, and providing new avenues to home ownership.
“We would welcome further strengthening of national policy to give Councils the confidence to allocate privately-owned land for custom build, that they can defend these policies, and they can expect planning applications to genuinely respond to this.”
The Consultation Document is available online, and responses are invited by mail or email before 18 May.
Photo: Richard Szwejkowski. Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/