What a turn-around. Who would have thought even a couple of years ago that a British Housing Minister could get so enthusiastic about self building? We all knew that the UK has an abysmal record when it comes to the percentage of houses commissioned and built to order, compared to most of the other countries in Europe, Canada, The USA and Australia etc. To have the government writing self building / custom building into housing policies, both nationally and locally, is the best hope for thousands of ordinary people to be able to do something about providing homes for themselves, that suit their families and their lifestyles, that are more friendly to the planet and usually far more affordable to achieve.
Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England, is where the government lays the duty on local authorities to identify the demand for self build sites, and to do something to address the need. If you want your own local authority to help you find a site, quote the new policies and examples to them. See paragraphs 67 – 73 in particular. Quote: “The Government wants to make building your own home a mainstream housing option – an affordable way of building a place people are proud to call home….we will ask councils to establish the demand for Custom Build Housing in their area, and take positive steps to facilitate it.”
Link to the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework. Paragraph 159 refers to self building. Quote: “Local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of housing needs in their area…they should identify the scale and mix of housing…which addresses the need for all types of housing, including affordable housing and the needs of different groups in the community (such as people wishing to build their own homes)…”
This is a report about the first planners’ training day, run by the National Self Build Association. We are starting to see local authorities realising that they now have this new duty to assess and assist self building. Some authorities were already supporting self build projects, such as here in Oxfordshire. NaSBA is currently planning to run more such regional training days in Manchester, Birmingham and Sussex.
The National Self Build Association has been working extremely hard to help the government, mortgage providers, and other relevant bodies to identify and amend relevant policies and practices with the stated aim of doubling the number of self builds over the next 10 years. See their Action Plan here.
The Build a Dream Self Build Association supports NaSBA and also provides practical help and support, contacts, expertise and information to individual self builders everywhere.