Having recently completed a renovation project, Amber and Lee Wilmot had no plans to self build their own home.
But when they heard Amber’s father was considering selling his garden plot in West Sussex to a local developer, they decided it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“We had just got our house in Redhill exactly as we wanted. It was in the perfect location close to the train station and friends,” says Lee.
“But this was a chance to create something from scratch. To show our commitment, we sold our property to fund the project and moved into rented accommodation.”
While finding the plot was straightforward, the couple’s journey to gaining planning proved anything but.
Having bought the land from Amber’s father without permission for a new home in place, the couple tentatively began discussions about constructing a house with the local council and talked the neighbours through their plans.
“There had been some development further down the road, so we assumed we would be able to get consent,” says Lee. “But our initial discussions with the planners were not positive.”
They faced some objections from neighbours, too, although they feel these were mainly to do with worries about a precedent being set.
Although the planning process was tiresome at times, and the construction work not without its issues, the couple talk positively of their experience. “We love the house, and would definitely self build again,” says Lee.
Amber is particularly pleased by their neighbours’ reactions: “Even the homeowners on our road who initially objected to our planning application tell us they’re pleased with how it turned out,” she says. “They say it’s nice to have a young family back in the area again.”
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