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  6. Shapps boosts self-build housing

Shapps boosts self-build housing

Housing minister Grant Shapps has signalled that the Government wants to encourage more people to build their own homes. He has promised to make the planning regime friendlier and release public land for self-builders.

Speaking at Grand Designs Live 2011 the minister said that he wanted self-build to become a mainstream housing option. 

He 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 Government will shortly announce the first publicly-owned sites to be made available to house builders which will include plots exclusively for self-builders.

The minister 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.”

He stressed that land should be easier to find for self-builders. ”I want to see what action can be taken to encourage the public and private sectors to work together to make more plots available for self builders.”

He went on: “I want to see what further action is needed to reduce the burden of regulation and simplify the planning process for self-builders.”

He said he was particularly interested in  community-led self-build projects like those promoted by the Community Self Build Agency who are working with homeless ex-servicemen to not only help them build their own homes, but also provide them with a trade.

He added: “Some people say they are puzzled by what the Big Society means. I think community self-build is a perfect example of what we mean - people getting together to build their own homes - almost literally building the big society.”

Community self-build projects should become easier through the Community Right to Build measures in the Localism Bill.

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.


Roger Milne

6 May 2011