‘Self-build boost could help tackle homes crisis’

A report recommending a package of proposals to expand opportunities for custom and self-build housing could play a role in tackling the UK’s housing crisis, according to the Land Promoters and Developers Federation (LPDF).

The proposals aim to encourage people to design and/or build their own home and as a consequence stimulate the SME building sector, enabling the Government to get closer to its target of 300,000 new homes built each year, says the Birmingham-based LPDF.

The Bacon Review, commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April, asked Richard Bacon MP to develop a plan for a major scaling up of self-commissioned new homes – across all tenures – to boost capacity and overall housing supply. This, he said, should include ‘increasing the availability of serviced plots of land across England’.

The LPDF, which offered evidence to the review,represents member companies – large and small – who are able to deliver serviced plots with planning permission as part of their normal role in meeting the need for developable housing land.

LPDF chairman Paul Brocklehurst said: ‘This is a very positive report which gives hope both to potential self-builders and future buyers of custom-built homes. It also opens up a new market for small and medium sized companies whether they are in the business of releasing serviced sites or providing custom built homes for clients.

“As a sector we aid diversity of delivery and this would create more opportunity for people to enjoy the homes and space they desire. A number of Richard Bacon’s recommendations could be enacted quickly through secondary legislation or Written Ministerial Statement and we would encourage the Government to do so, whilst they formulate the detail of the impending Bill on Planning Reform for the longer term. We believe there is a huge potential for releasing smaller sites on the edges of towns and villages which would appeal to self-builders and those wishing to buy custom built housing.”

He added: “Crucially, it could play a part in helping the Government achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes per year in an effort to relieve the current housing crisis.”

The LPDF, whose members include land promoters, house builders, planners and leading law firms, is working with the Government, local authorities and communities to enhance the planning process, and help deliver the new homes the UK needs.

The Bacon Review forms a key part of the Government’s Custom and Self-build Action Plan, which is designed to strengthen the ‘Right to Build’. It includes plans for a £150m ‘Help to Build’ Equity Loan Scheme, which was announced by Robert Jenrick earlier this year. It is part of a positive package of measures to boost custom and self-building to give people more power to shape their own future and provide a wider choice of tenure for future homeowners.

The report includes the following recommendations:
·      To give a greater role for Homes England.
·      To raise awareness of the ‘Right to Build’.
·      To support community-led housing diversity of supply and levelling up.
·      To promote greener homes and advanced manufacturing techniques.
·      To use planning reforms to boost self-building and Custom Build.
·      To iron out tax ‘creases’.

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