A NEW policy aims to help local people meet their own housing needs by building their own home in their communities. 

People who want to build their own ‘local needs’ home as a more suitable alternative to affordable or open market housing are often overlooked but Dartmoor’s new Local Plan, adopted in December 2021, aims to address that.

A park spokesperson said: ‘The Local Plan, which sets the vision, aim and policies for future development in the National Park, contains innovative new policies that aims to address Dartmoor’s challenges around affordability and meeting local housing need. 

‘Custom and self-build housing is a long established route for new homes on Dartmoor.

‘The new planning policy encourages local needs custom and self-build housing to come forward on small sites within a settlement without the need to provide affordable housing.

‘Proposals must also fulfil certain criteria. For example, they are limited to single homes or very small sites, are restricted in size and must be occupied by a local person (as defined by the Local Plan) in perpetuity. 

‘Since the policy was implemented, a custom build planning application has already been approved. At its June meeting, the Authority’s Development Management committee approved an outline planning for five self-build properties in Horrabridge

Dan Janota, Dartmoor National Park Authority’s head of forward planning and economy, said: ‘The custom and self-build policy in the new Local Plan has been really positively received and we’re encouraged to see a scheme coming forward to provide an opportunity for new homes in Horrabridge.

‘We’re excited to see how local people will rise to the challenge of designing and building their own homes on this site.’

‘Custom and self-build homes can be great for a community for several reasons.

‘They can lead to a greater variety of design in an area, they help create a community (as people typically stay much longer in a home they have designed/built themselves) and smaller local-occupancy homes can bridge the gap between traditional affordable housing and open market homes.

‘This policy also makes efficient use of Dartmoor’s precious land resource by encouraging infill development in the most sustainable locations.

‘Not only will we see these homes come forward as custom or self-build housing they will also be needing to meet other new policies brought in by our Local Plan including higher standards of energy efficiency, accessibility/adaptability, a ‘net gain’ for biodiversity, and the provision of electric vehicle charging.’