Levelling up and Regeneration Bill update for custom and self build housing
The government has set out the next steps for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB) as it progresses through Parliament, with amendments tabled for custom and self build.
Richard Bacon MP has tabled two important amendments to the LURB (NC112; NC115) which is expected back in Report next week. These build on the Government’s amendment (Gov NC68) to the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 that seeks to clarify how the duty for local authorities to grant sufficient planning permission for self-build and custom housebuilding (SBCH) should be applied.
Richard Bacon’s first amendment (NC112) further tightens the definition of SBCH to require that occupants of such homes must have 'main input into the full design and layout of their home'. It brings the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance into the legislation to make it clear that SBCH does not include the sale of off-plan homes or homes purchased at the plan stage prior to construction where an individual has not had design input. It also ensures that the legislation takes full account of the evolving SBCH market by recognising that most homes are built by building firms, businesses or companies for individuals who want to build a home.
The second amendment (NC115) further strengthens the Act regarding what permissions count towards meeting an authority’s duty to grant sufficient planning permission. A new sub-section under 2A(6) of the Act makes clear that to be counted, permissions must specify the precise number of SBCH dwellings and must be subject to an express planning condition or planning obligation requiring such homes to be built in line with the SBCH definition. The latter measure is something we at Custom Build Homes and our consultants strongly advocate for our schemes and is already now routinely required by Planning Inspectors on appeal to ensure the scheme is implemented for its intended purpose.
The amendment also clarifies that the demand for SBCH as recorded on an authority’s register is cumulative.
Custom Build Homes’ Mario Wolf, Director of Planning and Strategic Engagement said:
“Both amendments are in tune with the rapid evolution of the SBCH market and the challenges posed by the way the Act is being applied. They are designed to (1) ensure the legislation achieves its objectives to scale up the supply of serviced building plots to meet increasing local demand and diversify the market; (2) prevent gaming by developers whilst allowing for variations in the way homes are commissioned; and (3) stop authorities from maintaining their registers in ways which restrict supply.”
Custom Build Homes’ Mario Wolf, Director of Planning and Strategic Engagement, blogged on LinkedIn