Generally, both national and local planning policies encourage new build housing in or adjacent to existing settlements where there is a choice of services and facilities so that future occupants can live in a ‘sustainable’ way without having to rely on the private motor car for their day to day needs. Therefore, land outside of a defined development boundary; is not well related to a settlement without a development boundary; or not within a recognised rural settlement will be considered as ‘Countryside’ where planning policies are far more restrictive on allowing new housing unless there is a justified need such as, for an agricultural worker. Obtaining a self-build plot in North Devon There are currently no specific policies in North Devon that allow for self-build in areas that would not otherwise be granted planning permission for housing as described within ‘where can I build’. The Council will encourage and support the construction of self-build or custom house building schemes on all its allocated housing sites within the Local Plan. You can also look for plots of land with planning permission for housing on our website or through contacting estate agents, auction houses and plot finding agents/websites such as Plotbrowser. Please remember that a plot is not really a plot unless it has planning permission in place so be wary of buying any land without a suitable permission. Buying a parcel of land to build a home that does not benefit from planning permission for housing is potentially a very big financial risk. The value of a site will be largely determined by what it can be used for and has planning permission. Land outside of a settlement boundary will probably have an agricultural land value as it is unlikely to be suitable for other uses in planning terms other than what is supported by the Local Plan. The price of a plot of land with planning permission for a house will be much more expensive than the agricultural land because the price reflects the development potential of the land. Given the high price of housing land in North Devon it can be very tempting to buy an agricultural plot of land in the hope that you will be able to gain planning permission to build your own home. This course of action risks spending money on land that you will probably not be able to use as you would want to. You may wish to consider building your own home through the conversion of existing buildings, including redundant and disused rural buildings to a residential use. Before committing to any purchase of land or buildings, you should consider policies within the adopted Local Plan to understand where new housing may be acceptable. We also welcome and encourage discussions before receiving a full planning application through our pre-application advice service. Early preparation is more likely to result in less frustration, deliver a good quality and acceptable development, as well as help us process your application more quickly.