Yesterday I visited Number 10 for a meeting about what the Government can do to help self-builders. This is a separate enterprise from the current self-build working party (working with Grant Shapps) which I’m also involved with.

At the meeting I was asked, along with a trio of others who represent smaller housing developers, what the Govt could go to achieve its aim of building many more houses. Indeed, the figure they (only half-jokingly) quoted us that they wanted was 450,000 new homes a year – four times the current amount.

I raised the two issues that have dogged self-builders – the old one (lack of land) and the new one (finance). I pointed out that these days the majority of self-builds occur as replacement dwellings which makes it a very expensive pursuit. They were surprised to hear this. I also pitched my pet idea about each village/town releasing a handful of individual sites each year, making land available for locals to build on and minimising the impact of new development. I even touched on the radical idea of breaking down the barrier between town and countryside (to allow building new one-offs in the countryside which currently is impossible).

All ideas were warmly received. We had a good old whinge about finance too.

The great news is that at long last, self-build is on the Govt’s antennae. We’re being taken seriously and they can see the many ways in which self-build is a preferred route (design, sustainability and so on). Whether they deliver, of course, is another thing – but this is as close as we’ve got in decades to transforming the prospects of the self-build world.

  • Anonymous

    Great that self build is getting recognized as a housebuilding solution, but is that ‘pet idea’ of plot release really yours? It’s been bandied around the industry for a while, and I remember reading a very similar suggestion in another magazine last year.

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