Whilst any initiative that gets more homes built in the UK is to be welcomed – our demand for housing is rising insatiably (and not just due to immigration as is popularly believed) and yet annual housebuilding stats are at pitiful lows – but today’s announcement of the forming of Community Land Trusts is, to my mind, a red herring for self-builders.
The concept is thus. People in villages will be able to get together and build small numbers of houses (5-20 is the figure I’ve heard) on the edge of villages. Without needing planning permission, so long as they get a ‘significant’ majority in a local referendum on the issue.
Without wishing to go into what these houses that don’t need planning permission will look like, the key problem with this scheme (for us, at least) is that it is based on an affordable housing model. So while local people building homes to enable them to stay in a local area is a good thing, those homes will be subject to a covenant meaning that they cannot be sold for more than 1/3 of the value of other houses locally.
And I don’t know any self-builders who would go for that.
I’ve written to Grant Shapps suggesting a similar scheme but one that releases individual plots on the edge of villages for self-builders to build fair-value homes. I’ve also had contact from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and I’ll keep you posted on this blog.