Permission has been granted on appeal for the delivery of up to 4 plots for self-build and custom housebuilding in Docking, in King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough.
The Inspector agreed with Senior Planner, Andrew Jones, evidence that the Council had failed in its statutory duty to deliver enough plots to meet the demand on its Self-Build Register. Tetlow King analysed the Council’s supply of self-build plots and determined that a significant shortfall had built up.
The Council argued that the submission of CIL Form 7 Part 1 forms alone was appropriate evidence to demonstrate that sufficient self-build and custom housebuilding plots had been permitted. On behalf of the appellant, Andrew Jones argued that CIL Form 7 Part 1 is self-certification and does not provide evidence that an applicant would have input into design and layout, as required by the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended). The Inspector agreed.
As a consequence, the Inspector assigned ‘significant weight’ to the delivery of much needed self-build and custom housebuilding plots, finding this sufficient to outweigh the ‘less than substantial’ harm to a designated heritage asset and non-accordance with the development plan (given the location of the site outside the settlement boundary of Docking).
The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk must now accept that it is not meeting its duty with respect to those wishing to build their own home, seek to meet the shortfall that has built up, and afford at least ‘significant weight’ to self-build and custom housebuilding proposals until it can demonstrate it is meeting its statutory duty.
Helpfully the decision also confirms that off-site affordable housing contributions on self-build schemes constitute a dual benefit, not a reason for refusal.
It was a pleasure to act for the successful appellant, Mario Wolf of Custom Build Homes who assisted in giving evidence in relation self-build and custom housebuilding, as well as Elemento Group. Thanks also to Robert Sutton of Cotswold Archaeology for his outstanding contribution in relation to heritage.