Exmoor Young Voices self build visit

Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA) recently led a tour for young people of six self-build homes, supporting young people interested in self building their own home in the National Park.

Organised by the local planning authority and charity Exmoor Young Voices, the visit shared a number of properties in Wheddon Cross, Cutcombe, Hoe Farm and Exton for young adults living and working on Exmoor, illustrating a variety of routes and construction models to a self-built home.

With over 320,000 people living in National Parks, and over 22,500 businesses, housing, and especially affordable housing, is a crucial topic for managing local housing need, ensuring the parks remain living communities for all local people. Self build, especially when connected to registers with local connections, can be a paced and viable route to additional homes that is far more appropriate than large-scale housing development.

During the trip the group received advice from Dean Kinsella, Exmoor National Park Authority Head of Planning and Sustainable Development, and Tessa Saunders, Senior Planning Officer, about planning and potential opportunities for self-build within Exmoor communities.

Mr Kinsella said: “With the generally higher cost of housing in National Parks, it can be difficult for people to find homes that are both affordable and close to work and family. Our Local Plan aims to help local people get on the housing ladder by enabling self-build homes where suitable homes aren’t available on the open market.

“Through our work with Exmoor Young Voices we aim to guide young people through the planning process to help them decide early on whether a self-build is a realistic opportunity to provide them with the home they need.

ENPA reported that over 200 local people have benefitted from new locally-tied affordable homes built in the National Park since the introduction of specialist affordable housing policies in 2005. Some of these have been delivered via self-build, as well as by private developers and housing associations.

Earlier this year, National Parks England called on the Government to increase the total stock of affordable housing for families and young people in National Parks through additional financial support, restrictions on holiday and second homes and greater support to empower communities.

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