Planning considerations when choosing a plot for your self build house

7th November 2017

Obtaining local authority planning approval can be a minefield but by following a few rules you can remove a lot of the uncertainty and stress. The most important rule is to avoid purchasing land for development for which you're unlikely to secure planning approval. This takes away the risk that you'll be legally unable to build on your plot.

Your application hinges on the type of land attributed to your plot and its designated purpose. The very hardest land types for which to obtain planning approval include:

  • Green Belt
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV)
  • Conservation Area
  • National Park
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Each Local Authority has its own set of guidelines regarding how they control development in such areas, usually contained in their Local Plan and the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework). If none of the land types listed above applies to your plot, you're likely to have a more straightforward journey to obtaining planning approval.

Other planning questions to consider when finding a plot of land include:

Is the site in question previously developed (Brownfield) land?
If so, it is usually easier to secure planning permission to build.

Is the site in question within the settlement boundary of the village?
Again, if it's within the boundary, it is usually more straightforward to obtain planning approval.

Within Green Belt and Open Countryside settings (beyond settlement boundaries), Authorities are generally disinclined to approve new dwellings. Such proposals are usually deemed to be of an isolated nature in an unsustainable location and/or at odds with preserving the openness of the countryside.

A previously developed site within the Green Belt or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty does offer redevelopment potential. You should note that any proposed replacement dwelling should not be materially larger in bulk, scale and mass than what it is to replace. Therefore, do not expect to gain planning approval for going from a bungalow on the site to a full two storey property.

With our significant design experience, Oakland Vale has a great track record in gaining planning approval for clients throughout the South of England, even in some of the more protected areas. Please get in touch to discuss how we can assist.

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