Right To Build
The 2014 budget announced an intention to introduce a land release scheme known as Right to Build (not to be confused with the existing Community Right to Build, which is aimed at communities rather than individuals). The scheme is subject to consultation, and will involve trials with a few local authorities. The idea is that where councils don’t provide opportunities or land for self build, they can be officially challenged and required to do so.
Precisely how the scheme might work won’t be known until it’s formally adopted, but the forthcoming consultation draft should give a good indication. Hopefully it will force councils to address self builders’ needs and ensure there is a good supply of potential plots to meet demand.
Allocating land for self builders
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) already requires councils to provide sufficient land to meet the housing needs of, among others, self builders. Historically, councils have allocated large swathes of land for new homes, and these have been snapped up by volume housebuilders, with a few infill or garden plots within settlements providing the occasional opportunity for self builders.
Now, where councils are aware of a demand for self build plots, they can specify, when allocating land for housing, that some of it be made available for self builders. This might be as just bare land, but also in the form of serviced plots. Although the NPPF was introduced in 2012, there are still plenty of councils that don’t recognise the needs of self builders, and the Right to Build initiative appears designed to address this. Meanwhile, substantial government funding is being made available to help councils deliver serviced building plots, and this should also provoke some local authorities into action.