In Feb 2016 Charlesgate Homes submitted a planning application for 43 custom build houses which was refused by West Berkshire Council in May 2016. We appealed this decision to the secretary of state and in April 2017 this appeal was dismissed on the grounds that we had failed to provide justification to build outside of the settlement. In May 2017 we submitted a statutory review to the high court and it was agreed the decision to refuse was not legally sound as the inspector failed to provide planning weight to the need and demand for Custom build housing, despite the demand being demonstrated not only by the West Berkshire Council self-build and custom build register but also by the fact that we managed to secure 25 plot reservations in May 2016 on a subject to planning basis.
The application is now heading back into an informal hearing, so we thought it would be an ideal time to advertise the site again as we had a number of enquiries after we withdrew advertising the site, and we have also adjusted the site master plan so that we are able to demonstrate how a plot passport will work. The plot numbers in question have different colored hatching and within the key area on the right, it shows how big each respective build zone area is.
The idea of the plot passport is that you will be able to select your preferred plot and you will then able to design your new home from the ground up, but within the plot passport constraints that will have been agreed by West Berkshire Council. This will take the element of doubt away from the custom builder as to what they will likely be able to get planning consent for as the plot passport will highlight:
• How the high the house can be
• Amount of bedrooms that can be achieved
• Window orientation
• Number of parking spaces required
• Location of house within the plot
• Agreed materials for the overall site, which will include a selection of bricks, roof tiles, window and door designs.
• Actual external design of the house can be personalized so long as it conforms to the plot passport.
The plot passport will not involve internal finishes, kitchen designs or bathroom designs so these can be as individual as you wish it to be.
The added benefit of a custom build is the affordability of it, in that to purchase a serviced plot and then pay someone to build your house design will likely be 15-20% less, than if you were to buy a similar completed house. It should also be noted that you only pay stamp duty of the plot value, which will also be a significant saving.