How new self-build duty will affect councils’ planning strategies

The government has proposed changes to the planning system to boost the number of self- and custom-built homes. However, the new measures could place new burdens on overstretched planning teams.


Industry figures indicate that the UK is behind other Western nations when it comes to promoting new self- or custom-built housing and the new self-build planning guidelines aim to change that.

Figures from the National Custom & Self Build Association (NACSBA) also show that the number of self-build completions in the UK has dropped sharply from a pre-recession peak.

The government, however, is keen to see numbers rise again as a way of helping to ease the country’s chronic housing shortage. Planning minister Brandon Lewis has spoken of the government’s “commitment to double the number of custom-build and self-build homes by 2020”; the NACSBA’s current estimated annual figure for the UK is around 12,500. To achieve this ambitious aim, ministers have recently proposed a series of changes to the planning system.

In 2014, the coalition government launched a consultation entitled Right to Build: supporting custom and self-build – with “custom build” referring to homes built to owners’ specification rather than by the owners themselves.

One of the key measures, a requirement for local planning authorities to keep registers of those who express an interest in self- and custom build for their area, was introduced last March in the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015. The act places a duty on councils to “have regard to” their register when carrying out their planning responsibilities.

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Mortgage market starts 2016 with a bang

With mortgage approvals and lending both up on their six monthly averages, it is clear that the mortgage market got off to a blistering start in 2016.


Bank of England statistics show that lending secured on houses increased by £3.7bn in January, compared with the average monthly increase of £3.4bn over the previous six months.

Meanwhile the number of loan approvals for house purchase was 74,581, compared with a six-monthly average of 70,221.

According to the statistics, January 2016 saw the highest number of total monthly approvals since the same month in 2014. Remortgaging did particularly well, with the number of loan approvals increasing by 33 per cent year-on-year and the value of remortgaging up by 45 per cent over the previous year.

Furthermore, approvals for house purchases grew by 22 per cent.

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Leading insurance broker appoints new Director

Ashleigh Poore

Sennocke International Insurance Services Limited is delighted to announce the appointment of Ashleigh Poore to the role of Director with effect from the 1st March 2016.

Ashleigh has cemented his position as one of the key personnel at Sennocke’s Structural Warranty division; Build-Zone.

Since joining the company in 2009, he has progressed through the departments and has effectively taken leadership over the development of Build-Zone over the last 12 months.

Paul Kempton, Managing Director of Sennocke International Insurance Services Ltd said:

Ashleigh has displayed great leadership and direction during his time at Build Zone and we are excited to announce his promotion to Director at Sennocke International Insurance Services. We look forward to the continued growth in the company’s performance with Ashleigh’s support and expertise as we expand our reach throughout the UK.”

He went on to say:

“Ashleigh has successfully advanced through the relevant Departments since he joined the Company in 2009 and has effectively been running Build-Zone for the last 12 months so this progression in his career is well deserved and the Board wish him every success in the future”.

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Healthy UK Housing and Mortgage market for 2016

According to a new report by Timetric, gross mortgage lending in the UK will be rising at a steady rate up to 2019, driven by improving economic conditions and low deflation as seen in April 2015.

Healthy UK Housing and Mortgage market for 2016

The Gross lending registered considerable growth during 2015, especially from June to October, increasing at an average monthly rate of 3.3% and increasing by 29.4% overall.

Monthly lending was recorded at GBP21.5 billion for October following a growth of 15.9% from September, as low inflation and low interest rates continued to drive the market. The substantial growth was also attributed to lenders cutting interests rates in a late attempt to hit targets before Christmas.

According to Timetric’s Analyst Ben Carey-Evans:

“The mortgage market stabilised earlier in 2015 due to greater employment and stamp duty reforms. These trends continued, and combined with record low interest rates and inflation were the driving force behind the surge in lending in the latter part of the year.”

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25 years success for Sennocke International Insurance

25 years success for Sennocke International Insurance marked by expansion and relocation to larger premises


Following the continued success and growth of Sennocke International Insurance Services’ market leading brands; Self-build-Zone, Build-Zone and Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd, the company has invested in larger premises to accommodate their rapidly growing workforce and plans for the future.

As of 26th October, Sennocke International Insurance will be located at new offices in the heart of Sevenoaks.  The move to larger premises coincides with the company’s 25th Anniversary year and will allow each of the brands to continue to progress in line with the booming self-build market.

Managing Director, Paul Kempton, said:

“With our ambitious growth plans on track and the teams from Self-build Zone, Build-Zone and Build Zone Survey Services growing rapidly, we felt that this was perfect timing to invest in larger premises. Since inception, the operating brands under the Sennocke umbrella have gone from strength to strength.”

He went on to say:

“In our 25th Anniversary Year this is a major step forward for us, bringing the teams from our two offices together will combine the talents of our existing and dedicated staff re-affirming our commitment as the leading broker in the Self-build, Custom Build and Developer Markets”.

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