I have great admiration for my latest podcast guest, Ted Stevens. He seems to be a man who gets things done and, in my book, actions always speak louder than words.
Ted is the Chair of the National Self Build Association and as such he has done a great deal to promote the self build sector in the UK. I had no idea that we are very different from the rest of Europe in that our big national house builders tend to dominate the market. Of course, they’re so well organised that they’re first to know about land when it becomes available and to seize those opportunities. Self build, and its various forms, only accounts for 10% of new housing, whereas for our friends on the continent it can range between 30-50%.
Luckily Ted is on a mission! Upon presenting the data to the former Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP, Mr Shapps was keen to see the custom build market grow and this aim has filtered down to newly-appointed Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP.
In fact I was keen to get myself along to a meeting next week entitled ‘Kick-starting the self-build housing revolution’ but unfortunately it was only for local government members… I would have put on a suit and everything! Anyway, one guest in attendance will be Adri Duivesteijn, Deputy Mayor and Alderman for Urban Planning and Housing at Almere in the Netherlands. He is the man responsible for Europe’s largest self build community and this innovative project has received plaudits from many directions. On the podcast we discuss the benefits of large scale self building and ask whether this could be the next wave of garden cities in the UK? Anybody who has had a struggle trying to get planning permission, you may like the Dutch approach!
I realise I haven’t written much about finding land, even though that was the title of the blog post. Sorry! It’s all in the podcast. Ted has a wealth of experience and has also been through it himself, viewing over 100 plots of land before he found the one he wanted. Ted says: “It’s not difficult to find a rubbish plot that nobody wants!”
If you are struggling to find a decent plot or the prices are too high, are you being a detective? In episode 6 of the House Planning Help Podcast we look at his strategy.