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Four in Ten Councils Progressing Steadily on Self-Build Schemes

A recent survey has revealed that less than half of the local authorities in England are taking steps to assist those who want to build their own homes.

The results are lower than expected given the fact that ministers have frequently referenced such support, which is also subject to new legislation.

The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) published research showing that approximately 39 percent of local council are presently being proactive in promoting self-build in their respective areas. 69 councils have now established a register or otherwise measured local demand, while 77 councils have either put together local programmes or used local plans to create opportunities.

The research indicated that over 30 councils are sourcing suitable sites for private housebuilding purposes, with some authorities actively investigating the possibility of using sites formerly owned by the public sector for self-build programmes.

Representatives for the NaCSBA said that the most proactive councils were in the North East, where an estimated 70 percent were working on initiatives. In contrast, London councils were the least active, with approximately one in five demonstrating any progress on the self-build support agenda.

Mario Wolf, research co-ordinator who is on secondment to NaCSBA from the Department for Communities and Local Government, indicated that the group had met with several local authorities to review and discuss local challenges and develop ideas to encourage more self-building.

Mr Wolf stated that many councils appear to be keen to support the government’s goal of doubling the amount of private housebuilding in the country so that the growing need for housing can be properly addressed.

He pointed out that if realised, the increased amount of private homebuilding will help diversify the industry, create local jobs, and support both builders and suppliers all over the country.

Mr Wolf added that the group also found that councils require ongoing support and encouragement to drive these initiatives forward, and that the financing of these self-build projects was easier to achieve abroad.

NaCSBA representatives confirmed that 8 percent of all the new homes in England were presently self or custom-built.

Earlier in August, the Prime Minister and chancellor George Osborne made a pledge to double the number of self-built homes delivered in the country, following up on the Right gto Build proposals made last year.

 

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Last March, the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 received Royal Assent, thereby placing a duty on all local authorities in the country to maintain a register of individuals and community groups who desire to build their own homes, and requiring the register to be taken into consideration in local plan-making.

The UK’s largest self-build project, located at the Graven Hill site near Bicester, has attracted interest from more than 2,500 would-be homeowners. The first 10 homes to be completed in the development will be featured in a six-part documentary version of My Grand Design hosted by TV presenter Kevin McCloud. Planning permission has already been given for a primary school, businesses, and a pub.

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