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Self build plan presented to ministers

With the recent announcement that the number of self builds in the UK each year is at a 30-year low, Homebuilding & Renovating yesterday presented the self build industry's 10 Point Plan to Boost Self Build to the Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP. This is a series of proposals that, if implemented, we believe would significantly boost the numbers of people who are able to build their own home.

Homebuilding & Renovating Presents the Self Build Industry's 10 Point Plan to Boost Self Build

In order to address the concerns that the industry has about falling numbers of self build completions, Homebuilding & Renovating gathered leading figures from the industry for a roundtable discussion at the NEC Homebuilding & Renovating Show in March. The group included owners of package build companies, mortgage finance and insurance providers, planning consultants, custom builders and suppliers of materials to self builders. The proposals that the group came up with form the basis for the 10 Point Plan.

Key suggestions in the 10 Point Plan are based around subtle but significant changes to the planning system to shift the emphasis on housebuilding away from large developers back to individual builders. They include encouraging local authorities to allow small-scale greenfield windfall sites (to enable one-off homes outside of existing development boundaries); reducing the cost of making planning applications and making it easier for individual sites to be considered as part of a local authority's housing plan.

The small-scale organic growth of settlements by modest and dispersed incremental additions over time has been going on for centuries. It created the villages and towns we all love. This natural evolutionary process ground to a halt when the last Government introduced the principle of not building on greenfield sites unless such sites are specifically identified and allocated in a five-year development plan.

One consequence of this action has been to gradually starve self builders, smaller developers and now custom build developers of building land and this is considered to be a significant factor in the historically low level of new housebuilding.

It is proposed that ‘switching the tap back on’ to create a flow of smaller development sites would see the self build sector and small builder/developer sector return to their former levels of activity and beyond, providing a sustainable and politically acceptable way to deliver more new homes, creating new jobs and prosperity.

The latest quarterly Homebuilding & Renovating Market Report showed that the number of self builds in the year to March 2013 was 10,940 — the lowest figure for 30 years, with a quarter-on-quarter fall of 20% when compared with a year ago. The industry believes that urgent and bold action needs to take place in order to help the Government achieve its stated target of doubling the number of self builds in the UK.

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