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Govt to review Right to Build legislation

Jessica Bird

October 30, 2020

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A review of the Right to Build legislation, aimed at making it easier for people to build their own home, has been launched by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Currently, there are around 15,000 of these self-build homes built every year, an increase of 50% over two years; the self and custom build industry was last estimated be worth almost £4.5bn to the UK economy.

Councils are currently required to keep a register of those who wish to build in their local area, and by 30 October each year councils should have granted planning permission to enough suitable plots to match the demand on their register.

The government’s Right to Build review will examine how effectively these arrangements support self and custom building, including whether they increase land available to support these homes.

To increase transparency, help understand how councils are meeting the needs of their communities and also support developers understand the demand, the data that councils collect on self and custom build in their area will now be published annually.

Jenrick has written to councils to ensure they consider the demand for these homes when providing land for building and making planning decisions in their area.

Jenrick said: “We are backing people who want to design and build their own home and today I have launched a review to ensure councils provide enough land and take proper consideration for these homes when making planning decisions in their area.

“This will help more people get a foot on the housing ladder and support our building industry as we deliver the homes that this country needs.”

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA), said: “England has the lowest known rate of self-commissioned homes in the developed world.

“Our new homes market is crying out for the greener and higher quality build that goes hand-in-hand with more consumer choice.

“Housing diversification is key to the government’s housing strategy.

“This excellent announcement today by the government should help many more people achieve the dream of living in better and more beautiful homes.”

Richard Bacon MP, ambassador for the Right to Build Task Force, said: “For many years I have campaigned to increase real choices for the large number of people who want to build their own home or commission a home to their own design from a local SME builder.

“This led to my private member’s bill becoming the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act, which the government has subsequently strengthened.

“I warmly welcome the government’s review of the current law. Some local councils are already doing an excellent job in providing more opportunities but some others are not yet supporting the spirit of the legislation and have some way to go if they are to grasp the huge opportunities for more and better housing which greater customer choice offers.

“We need to make sure every council is able to deliver on this important agenda which will help provide more high quality homes.”

This follows the recent ‘Planning for the future’ white paper published in August, which set out reforms to modernise the planning system, bringing a new focus on high quality design and sustainability.

The white paper includes proposals to explore how publicly owned land disposal can support SMEs and the self-build sector.

Ministers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will also hold a roundtable with the self and custom build sector, as well as councils, as part of the review.

Richard Donnell, director at Zoopla, said: “The supply of new homes has grown over the last decade but the nation needs more homes.
“We welcome all initiatives to boost investment in new housing and broaden the base from which new housing is delivered.
“Self build is an important market and measures to boost this market will increase the choices available for consumers looking to get on the housing ladder or change their homes.”


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