Housing Minister Grant Shapps today called on the country’s aspiring self-builders to make a housebuilding revolution their New Year’s resolution.
Self-builders are already Britain’s largest housebuilder, and account for one-fifth of Britain’s new homes each year, but for far too long the aspirations of ordinary people to build their own home have been thwarted by barriers and red tape.
These obstacles have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe - so Mr Shapps has pledged to end self-building as the preserve of the privileged few, and enable aspiring self-builders to put building their own home at the top of their New Year’s resolutions.
Barriers that stand in people’s way will be torn down - including a complex and bureaucratic planning system, regulatory burdens, and lack of access to land and finance.
A new Community Right to Build will offer communities the chance to give the green light to new developments without the need for specific planning applications.
This could be local people working alone to build their own homes, or entire communities coming together to build the homes the area needs.
The new right offers people a solution to their housing needs in villages, towns and cities up and down the country. If communities support locally-led proposals they can help to regenerate abandoned urban sites or build homes in countryside communities, ensuring they remain vibrant places to live and not museums.
Grant Shapps said:
Building your own home should not be the preserve of a privileged few - I want to break down the barriers that many aspiring self-builders often come up against. That’s why I’ve asked experts at the National Self Build Association to work with us to develop an action plan to make it easier for people to build their own homes, whether on their own or as part of a community effort to build a whole new neighbourhood.
But the action plan will also look at how more people can be helped to make the most of the opportunities to build their own homes. For example, the new Community Right to Build will put power in the hands of local people to give the go-ahead to new developments in their area - and could open the door to a whole new generation of self-builders.
This will give a real boost to those who have long dreamed of building their own home, but have never been able to do so. I want these people to build their New Year’s resolution with bricks and mortar, and make 2011 the year they make their housebuilding dreams a reality.
The self-build sector is already important to growth and housing supply - with self-builders completing as many as 10,000 building projects each year - so making it easier for more people to build their own home will provide a welcome boost to the housing market.
Mr Shapps has today asked the National Self Build Association (NASBA) to work with his officials to develop an action plan to boost the number of self-builders across the country - and address the common barriers aspiring self-builders face, including:
- availability of land - including making public sector land available for house building
- availability of finance - working with lenders to ensure self-building communities can get the finance they need
- availability of expert support - how self-builders can support communities looking to build the homes they need, and how those new to self-building can be supported.
Ted Stevens, Chairman of the National Self Build Association, said:
We believe there are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK that are keen to build their own, very affordable homes, so anything the Government can do to help make this happen has to be applauded. By encouraging more self build people will get the homes they really want, very cost effectively. For example, it’s perfectly possible to build a three bedroom home for around £150,000.
A boost to the self build sector will also create job opportunities in the construction industry and the wider construction materials sector. And most self builders are very committed to environmental and community issues too, so more self build should lead to greener homes and more cohesive communities.
Designer Wayne Hemingway said:
It’s the right time for the Government to start promoting self build. That’s for sure. We’ve a got a society that enjoys design and enjoys creativity, loves watching Grand Designs, and new house building doesn’t have to be as posh as Grand Designs - we have clearly got an appetite for doing our own homes.
Because of the money that you save on self build you’ve got more chance to include green initiatives. And by the very nature of being a self builder you are more likely to look at things like that because you want to save money all the way.
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