The housing crisis has been a recurring theme of successive governments. In March 2020, Robert Jenrick published Planning for the Future, in advance of the Planning White Paper. Several reforms were set out, encouraging local authorities to take a proactive approach to home building. Of these, one related to supporting small sites and self-build housing, to enable villages to grow organically and to provide homes for the next generation and those wishing to downsize. Our recent submission of an outline application for a self-build development captures the key themes and importance of smaller development sites and the opportunities that they present.
How do small sites benefit local housing supply?
There is a common perception that 1 or 2 dwellings can’t help solve a housing crisis, but when taken cumulatively they can have a positive impact and unlock development potential in a phased and effective manner. By embracing a more dynamic approach to the development capability of smaller sites, there is the potential to benefit from a number of outcomes, including: swifter delivery of housing, effective integration into the local street scene, a reduction on the impact to local residents during the build process and on existing infrastructure post-completion.
Assessing the development potential of a site
For our recent submission – the application is in outline and seeks to develop an infill site that sits just outside a defined settlement boundary and in the green belt. At first glance a challenging project, however the use of our detailed site analysis identified the very real potential of this site to respond directly to an identified housing need in the local area and the under delivery of self-build opportunities.
Defining a settlement boundary for the purposes of development
Our development appraisal assessed each of the key site restrictions in turn and proposed effective solutions and mitigation measures. These have informed our planning strategy and the associated application. For example, in addressing the green belt designation, we have evidenced how the site meets the necessary exception tests.
As for the site’s location outside of the defined settlement boundary, using our knowledge of case law and appeal precedents, we have sought to evidence how a defined ‘settlement boundary’ does not in fact define the extent of a village. The extent of a village should be determined by what is actually present ‘on the ground’.
Furthermore, we have been able to demonstrate how the proposals are policy compliant at both a local and national level. We are very excited about the potential of this site for future, sensitive development. The proposal is eminently sustainable, responds directly to identified need for both housing supply and self-build requirements in the local area and we look forward to working proactively with the local council on this application.
How our planning team can help you
If you have a village site that has the potential to provide an additional residential plot but are not sure how best to proceed or would like a steer, we can advise you of your options and on the best approach. Contact our team via email@example.com or call us on 01242 501003 to see how we can best assist you, providing the site address and a brief overview of your project. You can also submit your site via our Landmark Page. We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.