Self-build plots refused in countryside

An inspector did not accept unmet demand for self-build houses as justification for allowing two new homes to be built in a countryside location contrary to a Kent local plan spatial strategy.

The two chalet style bungalows were proposed to be built on a field close to a couple of other houses and a garden centre and the inspector concluded on the first main issue that the development would erode the open rural character of the area.

In support of their case on the second main issue of whether the proposal would be a suitable location for housing, the appellant claimed an acute unmet need for homes for the nearly two hundred people on the council self-build register. The council acknowledged that only a limited number of self-build proposals had been permitted but the inspector noted that while the council had a statutory duty under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) to grant permission within three years for enough plots to meet the number of entries on the register for a given base period, it had another year to do so and was not failing to carry out its statutory duty of meeting demand.

As the council could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land and the site did not comply with strategy focusing housing growth on urban areas and service villages, and given area character harm, the inspector dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Neil Smith; Written representations

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