In my last post I revealed that Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, has vowed to try and make self-building a heck of a lot easier than it is at the moment, with a view to encouraging more ordinary people to build their own homes.
I mentioned that the two key areas of focus are planning policy and finance. Now, I’m less sure that the Government can do much to encourage existing lenders to give money to self-builders in any more successful way than they can encourage bankers to exercise a degree of self-awareness when it comes to bonuses, or getting lenders to back good-idea small businesses.
The first meeting amongst the self-build lobby group NASBA was last night, and after a few more meetings NASBA are going to be entering serious discussions with Grant Shapps about implementing some of the ideas they come up with. I understand that discussion centered a lot around planning policies – one of my pet concepts has always been a favourable planning route for self-builders that enables them to engage in limited, modest development outside of the existing settlement boundaries.
NASBA are still working on their document, but all of us in the self-build world owe them a debt of gratitude because they have undoubtedly got as close to getting Government to take self-build seriously as anyone in the past decades has and, just possibly, they might help to make self-building a mainstream pursuit at last.