Planning application revived for five self-build homes near Highworth

The town council and some neighbours are recommending the application be refused.

An updated outline planning application for five ultra-modern self-build homes on the edge of Highworth is awaiting a decision by Swindon Borough Council.

A year ago, Skye Property Group Limited submitted proposals to build five homes on land behind Barn Cottage, which is located off Swindon Road approximately a mile south of Highworth. However, the application was rejected as was the applicant’s appeal against the decision in the summer. The planners considered the proposals were not keeping in-line with the local area.

The new proposals have been scaled down, along with the orientation being changed and new lengthy rear gardens added. Within the new plans, the detached Grand Designs-style self-build homes will be in a group of two and three along a single curving road off Swindon Road. On the site, the existing residential dwelling, Barn Cottage, is proposed to be demolished, in addition to its double garage.

The application has been at the consultation stage. Highworth Town Council has recommended the new application to be refused. Seven neighbours along Swindon Road have also submitted comments on the application, most of which objected to the plans.

Within the documents included in the application, the property developer states the site is on brownfield land. The developer says this is because the site contains three residential structures which occupy a significant portion of the plot and the rear of the site previously had planning consent for development.

Many of the objectors argue the site is greenfield land. They explain this is because the garage is considered ancillary to the house, that the land is currently a paddock and that the site has not been previously developed on. Additionally, there were also complaints about the access and that the development is harmful to the character of the surrounding area.

The town council has asked if officers are inclined to give approval for the matter be decided by planning committee. A decision on the outline planning application (S/OUT/21/1527) for five self-build homes near Highworth is expected to be made by Friday 7 December. More information on the proposals can be found on Swindon Borough Council’s website.

Self-build housing

Each year, self-build projects account for 7-10% of new housing across England, according to the Planning Portal. This accounts for approximately 12,000 homes. In recent years, self-build homes have become very popular. A study by the National Custom & Self Build Association from last year revealed that one in three people are interested in building their own home.

Local authorities are required to ensure land is available for self and custom build homes. The Right to Build, which originally launched in 2016, is designed to make it easier for self-builders to find plots. Prospective self-builders are being asked to log their desire to self build their own home with their local authority.

Then, local authorities must make sure they have sufficient plots available to meet the demand. Additionally, they must demonstrate that planning permission or permission in principle has been granted on these plots within three years. Local authorities must then provide evidence of this every year on Right to Build Day, which is 30 October.

Because of this, planning decisions should take into account demand from self-build registers data. According to a Freedom of Information request by the applicant for the five self-build homes near Highworth, 87 individuals and one association are on Swindon Borough Council’s self-build register.

If you are interested in self-building, you can register your interest on the Self Build Portal website at

Kaylene Isherwood

Kaylene Isherwood

Freelance Property Writer