Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today announced that the Government will ‘put its money where its mouth is’ and help more people to realise their dream of building their own home.
Speaking at Grand Designs Live 2011, Mr Shapps said that he wanted self build to become a mainstream housing option - and that Government would play its part by making available publicly owned land for use by ordinary people to build their own homes.
As a group self-builders are already Britain’s largest housebuilder, accounting for about one in five of Britain’s new homes each year; but barriers and red tape have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe.
Mr Shapps said he wanted to see more land being made available - both private and public - to enable more individual and community self build schemes. He called on private investors to bring forward plots, and for local authorities and Housing Associations to show their support.
The Minister said central Government would lead the way: he will shortly announce the first publicly-owned sites to be made available to housebuilders to include plots exclusively for self-builders.
This will be part of wider Government measures announced in the Budget to increase the amount of land made available for housebuilding, including to self-builders, which the Minister hopes will bring self-building into the mainstream and stop it being “the preserve of the privileged few”.
It also forms part of Mr Shapps’s drive to remove barriers and strip away bureaucracy which, he argues, have for too long thwarted the aspirations of people who want to build their own home.
In February he launched a new Industry-Government working group - led by the National Self-Build Association - to advise the Government on what action is needed to reduce barriers, including the burden of regulation and the lack of access to land and development finance.
Grant Shapps said:
Self builders deliver affordable, greener and more innovatively-designed homes; and make a big contribution to the number of new homes built in this country, yet there is scope to significantly increase the number of self built homes in the UK - both for individual households and for community-driven projects.
I want to turn around the fortunes of self-builders by cutting the red tape and bureaucracy they often face and make self build a reality for many more people. I’m encouraged by the ongoing work of our self-build working group, which is making good progress in developing an action plan to reduce the barriers that aspiring self-builders often face. These efforts will help bring self-build into the mainstream, and not simply be the preserve of the privileged few.
And today, I can confirm that the Government will lead the way to promote more self build housing with plots available exclusively for self-builders on public sector land.
This will sit alongside the efforts we are already making to reduce the burden of regulation on the house building industry and through the Localism Bill to put power in the hands of communities up and down the country. We’re enabling them to give the green light to new developments through the Community Right to Build, and simplifying the overly-bureaucratic planning system.
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