Goliath trumps David in the planning permissions game

// HA News

Essex’s volume house builders are being granted planning permission to build tens of thousands of new homes across Sussex, on greenfield sites, whilst Sussex residents are being refused planning applications to build their own new homes.

District councils across West Sussex and East Sussex are turning down most local residents’ planning applications for new homes, despite granting permission for thousands of new homes to be built by out-of-county volume house-builders, usually from Essex, such as Bovis Homes, Barratt Homes, Crest Nicholson, Berkeley Homes and Charles Church.

Julia Arnold, MD of Sussex Home Hub and founder of the ‘Campaign to Get Sussex Building’ comments: “This is disastrous and unfair for Sussex people who want to build their own new homes, often on brownfield land. Most applications are being refused, while, volume house builders from out of Sussex are being given permission to build thousands of standard house-types on greenfield land.

“Not only does this mean the profits from the new homes are going out of Sussex, it is also resulting in work being given to architects, planning consultants, builders and other workers from outside Sussex, in priority over Sussex workers.”

There are two reasons for this bias against Sussex self-builders. The first is since the planning regulations were relaxed last yeari, the huge increase in individual (and often unprofessional) planning applications from self-builders may have created too much administration for councils. It is much easier for councils to meet their housing number targets by allowing fewer large sites by wealthy volume builders, who can also make social contributions through the National Planning

The second reason local self-builders are often turned down for planning permission, is because they have failed to make adequate planning applications, which comply with the complicated regulations that surrounds the planning system.

For example, applications for barn conversions increased by 400% in just four months, last year, after the planning laws around them were relaxed, so barn owners now have the right, within certain restrictions, to undertake a barn conversion in England without the need for planning permission. Despite these new “permitted development rights” nearly two thirds of applications were stopped from going ahead by local councils.

“This is wrong and unnecessary,” according to Sussex Home Hub, a free service, which is helping people across Sussex to get planning permission and build new homes.

Julia Arnold, Managing Director of Sussex Home Hub, explains: “Astute people all over East and West Sussex are making small fortunes by taking advantage of the changes and building their own new homes or converting their barns.”

“Often planning permission is being refused just because self-builders do not know how the system works, or they are given bad advice. If you have the right experts around you, and you have land which is eligible for development, the opportunity to make money and create your own new home is very real and often relatively easy.”

Well-designed self-build homes are good for Sussex. They help the councils meet their local housing quotas whilst at the same time, reducing the necessary number of volume- builder new-home developments on greenfield land.

For free advice and more information please visit www.sussexhomehub.org

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