Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today announced that the Government will ‘put its money where its mouth is’ and help more people to realise their dream of building their own home.
Mr Shapps said that he wanted self build to become a mainstream housing option – and that Government will play its part by making available publicly owned land for use by ordinary people to build their own homes.
Self-builders are already Britain’s largest housebuilder, and account for about one in five of Britain’s new homes each year, but barriers and red tape have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe.
Mr Shapps said he wanted to see more land being made available – both private and public – to enable more individual and community self build schemes, so he called on private investors to bring forward plots, and for local authorities and Housing Associations to show their support.
And he announced that Central Government will lead the way – saying he will shortly announce the first publicly-owned sites to be made available to housebuilders to include plots exclusively for self-builders.
This will be part of wider Government measures announced in the Budget to increase the amount of land made available for housebuilding, including to self-builders, which the Minister hopes will bring self-building into the mainstream and stop it being “the preserve of the privileged few”.
It also forms part of Mr Shapps’s drive to remove barriers and strip away red tape that he argues for far too long have thwarted the aspirations of people who want to build their own home.
In February he launched a new Industry-Government working group – led by the National Self-Build Association – to advise the Government on what action is needed to reduce these barriers, including the burden of regulation and the lack of access to land and development finance.
All of which is very good news. Early days, but it seems the Government is intent on helping self-builders out. Watch this space for more.