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Planning your self or custom build



An Introduction for Self and Custom Builders to Gateshead Council’s Planning Service

The Development Management Section is responsible for determining your planning application. There are several different types of planning application that you may need before you start to build a house. The Council offers a pre-application advice service to help you through the planning process. You do not need to undertake pre planning application discussions with the Council but there are significant benefits in doing so. This approach is strongly encouraged.

What to do first?

If you have a site in mind you should try to find out as much information as you can about it before applying for planning permission or pre application advice or before spending money on designing your plans for the site.  There may be reasons why planning permission would not be possible on your site or that restrict what you can build and it is better to know this before you progress with your plans.

Initial sources of information are:

Pre Application Advice

If you think your site has potential after researching these sources of information, you can submit an application to commence pre application discussions.

Having Pre Application Advice is way of us being able to help you submit a complete and accurate planning application which complies with relevant plans, policies and guidance. The process can flag up if there are planning requirements that will impact on your proposal and reduce the likelihood of submitting an unsuccessful application. This is particularly useful if there are circumstances about the self or custom build project that would make a full application risky.

If your project would be unlikely to receive planning permission, you would be advised of that and the reasons why, through the Pre Application Advice process, potentially saving you significant time and expense in the long run. This process will also advise what needs to be submitted with your application to be considered valid.

The cost of pre-application for a development of between 1 to 9 homes is currently £200 with a response time of 20 working days.

Submitting your application

Our Development Management Service is registered with the Planning Portal enabling you to submit your planning application online. Information on fees, charges and what form to fill in for your required planning permission can be accessed on our forms, fees and charges page.

Remember once you have gained planning permission you then need building regulations approval.

Note that you can apply for planning permission on land that you do not own and we would always recommend a cautious approach to purchasing land before gaining planning permission.

Main Planning Application options for Self and Custom Build proposals

There are different types of planning permissions; the two that are most likely to be relevant for a self and custom builder are outline and full consent. Unless you are renovating a listed building!

Outline Planning Consent

An application for outline planning permission allows for a decision on the general principles of how a site can be developed. Outline planning permission is granted subject to conditions requiring the subsequent approval of one or more ‘reserved matters’. After outline permission is granted, the applicant seeks approval for reserved matters to agree the detail design before work can start on site.  Reserved matters are those aspects of a proposed development which an applicant can choose not to submit details of with an outline planning application, (i.e. they can be ‘reserved’ for later determination). However, if desired, any of these reserved matters can be approved at the outline stage.

The cost of an outline planning application is £385 per 0.1 hectare for sites up to and including 2.5 hectares. You should be able to expect a decision in 8 weeks. The fee structure for larger sites is available on on our forms, fees and charges page

It is likely that outline permissions would be more suitable for a custom build or group development as the principle can be established for the number of plots and the joint infrastructure such as access roads but individual reserved matters can be submitted for each plot or groups of plots.

Reserved Matters

Where outline permission has been granted, you would have to then make an application for the outstanding reserved matters, i.e. the information excluded from the initial outline planning application, within three years of the outline approval. Consideration of a reserved matters approval is an additional £385. A reserved matters application would typically be determined within 8 weeks.

Reserved Matters are defined as:

  • ‘Access’ – the accessibility to and within the site, for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians in terms of the positioning and treatment of access and circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding access network.
  • ‘Appearance’ – the aspects of a building or place within the development which determine the visual impression the building or place makes, including the external built form of the development, its architecture, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture.
  • ‘Landscaping’ – the treatment of land (other than buildings) for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated and includes: (a) screening by fences, walls or other means; (b) the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass; (c) the formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks; (d) the laying out or provision of gardens, courts, squares, water features, sculpture or public art; and (e) the provision of other amenity features;
  • ‘Layout’ – the way in which buildings, routes and open spaces within the development are provided, situated and orientated in relation to each other and to buildings and spaces outside the development.
  • ‘Scale’ – the height, width and length of each building proposed within the development in relation to its surroundings.

Full Planning Permission

Full planning permission is also known as detailed planning permission.  This is the most common type of permission for a single house. It requires the submission of all the information required for outline and reserved matters applications, in a single application. If this is approved the applicant is then in a position to proceed straight away, once any conditions put on the consent have been complied with. You should be able to expect a decision in 8 weeks. 

As this is a single stage process, you would normally be able to start your development quicker by making a Full Planning Application, than the two (or more) stage outline and reserved matters approach. It may also save you some money in application fees, but it does require you to have all the information relating to your development ready to include in a single application.

Full planning applications cost £339 for 1 or 2 dwellings and £385 per dwelling between 2 and 50 planned homes.