Self-Build Dwelling in Colchester

<-- Back to News Page October 1, 2019

It is always good to see a project delivered. In this case we secured planning permission for a self-build / custom-build dwelling near West Bergholt, Colchester. The site context, being located within a countryside setting, and our client’s desire for a unique home to meet their needs required a bespoke design approach.

The project involved the replacement of an existing bungalow dwelling. To demonstrate to the Council that the replacement dwelling would not have a greater or detrimental impact upon the countryside, the new self-build dwelling was partially sunken into the landscape. This meant that despite being a two-storey building, the height was actually less than the original bungalow. The design incorporated the use of feature bay windows and gables that provided articulation to the elevations but also encouraged excellent internal light levels. The elevations were also treated in soft brick and cedar shingle tiles.

We were pleased that Colchester Borough Council supported this vision and duly approved the planning permission. The self-build house has now been delivered and makes a wonderful home.

There has been a strong increase in the demand from people wanting to build their new homes. This change has been supported by various Government initiatives, including the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016), which provides a legal definition of self-build and custom housebuilding and places a local duty of local planning authorities to monitor demand and approve sufficient planning permissions to meet this demand.

Despite a Government commitment to deliver more self-build / custom build homes, the planning system stills remains a constraint to securing a suitable plot. The common self-build and custom build projects involve: infill developments; backland garden development; replacement dwellings; and development on previously developed sites. It can, in some cases, be possible to secure planning permission on greenfield, edge of settlement sites, where there is an identified local demand and the site otherwise fulfils the role of sustainable development.

If you have a self-build project and would like to seek advice on design and how to navigate the planning system, please contact us at

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ADP Ltd, Hophouse, Colchester Road, West Bergholt, Colchester, Essex, CO6 3TJ