Jessica and Ron Spelton are keen to self-build, but would also like to make some money from the exercise. One way to achieve this, perhaps, would be to buy a larger plot, subdivide it into two or three and then sell on the other segments, possibly having put in services to add value. It’s a great plan, but finding the right site is proving tricky. Could a small paddock owned by some of the couple’s friends, which forms a gap between houses, suit their purpose?
The land sits just outside a large village. It’s on the junction of two lanes, each with a scatter of detached homes fronting them. It’s flat and there are a few trees on the road boundaries. It’s otherwise free of any obvious impediment to building – except for a small electricity pylon right at the back of the plot and one on the road frontage.
The houses on each side don’t have any significant upper-floor windows overlooking the site. The neighbouring properties’ boundaries comprise a close board fence and an evergreen hedge, both providing a high degree of privacy for their gardens. The site is about 0.2 hectares (roughly half an acre) so would fit the bill for, say, three good sized plots of land.
The key question for Ron and Jessica is whether, as a matter of principle, they could get planning permission for houses on this land. It’s close to a village with a school, shops, pubs and a bus route.
However, it does form quite a prominent gap in the street scene that allows views through to the attractive countryside beyond. There has been quite a bit of new residential development nearby, but closer to the settlement centre and with better pedestrian links.
Here, the relatively narrow lanes have no pavement and they’re not lit – both factors that are sometimes considered significant by local authorities. Ron and Jessica’s investigations thusfar have revealed that the site is outside the village development boundary, set out in a rather ancient (12-years-old) Local Plan (LP). Also, the land is not in any specially- designated area, such as green belt or an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). So, does the old LP policy still carry weight and, if so, are there any ways around it?
Closer inspection of the LP situation reveals that the council is in the process … Read the rest of article