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Planning a self or custom build

There are several types of planning application that you may need before you start to build a house. We offer a pre-application advice service to help you through the planning process. 

Before applying for advice or planning permission find out as much information as you can about the site. There may be reasons why planning permission would not be possible on the site or that restricts what you can build. 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 contact us for pre planning advice.

We can help you submit a complete and accurate planning application. The process will flag up any planning requirements that will impact on your proposal. There may be circumstances about the self or custom build project that would make a full application risky.

We will let you know if your project is unlikely to receive planning permission  and the reasons why. This could save you time and expense. This process will also tell you what needs to be submitted with your application to be valid.

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

Submitting your application

Get information on fees, changes and what form to fill in for your required planning permission .

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

You can apply for planning permission on land that you do not own. We would always recommend a cautious approach to buying land before getting planning permission.

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. 

Outline planning consent

An application for outline planning permission allows for a decision on the general principles of how a site can be developed. If granted, outline planning permission will be subject to conditions. These conditions will need later approval of one or more 'reserved matters'. The applicant must get approval for reserved matters to agree the detail design before work can start on site. You can choose not to submit details with the outline planning application. They can be 'reserved' for later determination. 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 have a decision in eight weeks. The fee structure for larger sites is available on on our forms, fees and charges page. 

Outline permissions are more suitable for a custom build or group development. The principle can be established for the number of plots and the joint infrastructure such as access roads. Individual reserved matters can be submitted for each plot or groups of plots.

Reserved matters

Once you have outline permission you would need to make an application for the outstanding reserved matters within three years. Consideration of a reserved matters approval is  £385. You should have a decision within eight weeks.

Reserved matters are:

The accessibility to and within the site, for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians. The positioning and treatment of access and circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding access network.

The aspects of a building or place within the development which determine the visual impression the building or place makes. This would include:

  • the external built form of the development, 
  • its architecture, 
  • materials, 
  • decoration, 
  • lighting, 
  • colour and texture.​​

The treatment of land (other than buildings) to enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated and includes: 

  • screening by fences, walls or other means; 
  • the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass; 
  • the formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks; 
  • the laying out or provision of gardens, courts, squares, water features, sculpture or public art; and 
  • the provision of other amenity features;

The way in which buildings, routes and open spaces within the development are provided. How they are situated and orientated in relation to each other and to buildings and spaces outside the development.

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. You would need all the information relating to your development ready to include in a single application. If approved you can start straight away, once any conditions put on the consent have been carried out. You should be able to expect a decision in eight weeks. 

As this is a single stage process, you would be able to start your development quicker. It may also save you some money in application fees. 

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