Tories Back Self-Build Revolution

14 May 14 | Jamie Sullivan

Initially, £150 million has been provided within the budget to help authorities to sell the first 10,000 plots, however, it is hoped that revenue gained from this will be reinvested into the programme.

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Last week Nick Boles set out the Conservative position on self-build homes, which is set to become adopted policy prior to next year’s General Election. It would require local authorities to accommodate a statutory right for local people to build their own home.

The proposals, dubbed the ‘Right to Build’, would require local planning authorities to allow people to buy Council owned land if those people have lived within a local area and registered their interest with the relevant authority for at least two years. Indications are that any authority that resists the sale of land for self-build purposes could have this imposed upon it by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Initially, £150 million has been provided within the budget to help authorities to sell the first 10,000 plots, however, it is hoped that revenue gained from this will be reinvested into the programme.

These proposals suggest the Conservatives recognise the contribution that self-build schemes can make to delivering the 200,000+ new homes required per annum nationwide. At present, 8-10% of new homes in the UK are self-build compared to 40-60% in the US and Australia, and 80% in Austria.

Whilst the details are yet to be revealed, the ‘Right to Buy’ provides an opportunity for landowners to identify and promote suitable alternative privately owned land parcels which may be appropriate for these type of schemes. As and when these measures become law, local authorities will be required to positively plan for their development, and equally, react positively to planning applications where no such allocations exist.

Iceni Projects has long been advocating the use of self-build schemes, and has active involvement in a number of existing projects. Benefits of self-build projects include:

Community Support
– As proposals result in high quality and architecturally interesting developments, and due to the high demand for self-build homes in certain locations, these schemes generally receive a (relatively) higher level of support from local residents and members.

Economical
– Publications from the National Self-Build Association indicate that on average, the cost of buying a plot, and building a self-build home is around 25 per cent cheaper than purchasing a new home. As there is no ‘housebuilder profit’, the landowner, who is required to deliver only the key infrastructure, does not lose out.

Relief from CIL
– In recognition of the need to encourage self-build homes, the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulation Amendments of February 2014 included exemptions for self-build housing.

Very Special Circumstances
– The demand for self-build homes within an area, reinforced by the measures announced today, could contribute to the provision of very special circumstances required to justify the development of land within the Green Belt.

If you would like to discuss any of the implications of the Government’s announcements, please contact Iceni.

Jamie Sullivan Associate,Planning

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