June 2017

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Published on 20 June 2017

Teignbridge lead self build study tour

Councillors and officers visit Cherwell District Council’s Plot Shop to learn how councils can open the door to more self build plots

Teignbridge recently invited councils from Cornwall to South Gloucestershire to join a Teignbridge study tour exploring the latest innovation and experience in custom and self build homes.

The tour was designed to provide local authority councillors and officers with an opportunity to increase their knowledge so they can help local residents interested in designing or building their own home.

The first part of the Teignbridge-led tour saw 16 delegates visit the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon. The visit was timed to coincide with the NSBRC Summer Show which attracts more than 200 exhibitors and provides expert advice to create a new home, live demonstrations, expert seminars, and access to architects and designers.  Delegates received specialist advice about all aspects of custom and self build, including a session with Piers Taylor, presenter of BBC2’s ‘The House that £100k Built’ and an award-winning architect.

For the second part of the tour delegates visited the Graven Hill custom build development in Bicester, near Oxford. A former Ministry of Defence site, Graven Hill is being transformed by Cherwell District Council into the largest dedicated custom and self build site in the UK, where the vision is to create a distinctive new community of 1,900 homes.

Teignbridge is nationally recognised as a leading authority on custom and self build as a Right to Build Vanguard. In recognition of its ground-breaking work, last year Teignbridge won the Build-It Award for Best Council for Self/Custom Builders and was shortlisted by the Local Government Chronicle awards for innovation regarding its pioneering ‘Teignbridge Rule’ policy on custom and self build.

Leader of Teignbridge District Council, Cllr Jeremy Christophers said:

“As a trail-blazer in custom and self build housing, Teignbridge is helping local people to build their way onto the housing ladder, so they get more home for the money. From a basic outline, people can create a design tailored to their existing and future needs.

“Thanks to the NSBRC and Cherwell, this tour was thought-provoking and inspiring. It was a valuable knowledge-sharing opportunity, helping councils to share the challenges they face and come up with solutions to bring forward more plots for self and custom build homes, more quickly for local residents.

“This knowledge exchange paves the way for future links between Councils who have an obligation to provide plots for custom and self build. There are many common questions and this kind of activity shares expertise to help find solutions to provide more affordable plots to market.  Plans include setting up an Information Exchange Forum for future collaboration between councils who have an appetite to learn.”


The ‘Teignbridge Rule’ requires plots for custom and self-build homes to be made available on large development sites and small rural exception sites for affordable, sustainable self-build homes for local people who are otherwise priced out of the housing market.