Daily Mail – This story begs a lot of questions. Many councils do not own a lot of land any more. In rural areas where the pressure is the County Councils are the big landowners. In London and other high value areas councils are already scraping the barrel with land sales. What if a council has knocked down an estate to redevelop it high density, what if it wants to build a new school. Will it have to sell off its parks! After all there is no statutory duty to provide parks. In urban areas a single custom build plot would be woefully underused for a single unit. Would the HCA be then masterplanning the sites it vests or would it just subdivide them crudely up and flog them on like some gangster politician on the edge of Lagos who has seized land from the local Municipality. Yet again it shows that development control is no substitute for development planning and masterplanning and that half baked Policy Exchange ideas fall part in practice. It would make much more sense for the HCA to buy up land without permission at existing use values – err what is that called – Garden Cities wasn’t it. After all globally custom build often plays a big role in new Garden Cities.
Councils will have to make land available for people to their build their own homes, the Conservatives will announce this week.
Controversial planning minister Nick Boles will unveil a new ‘Right to Build’ scheme to allow people who have lived in a local for area for three years to buy vacant land.
The local authority would have to meet their demand, and supply water, energy and other services to the property, under the radical plan to boost levels of homebuilding.
Mr Boles denied these buildings would resemble the ambitious and vastly expensive projects which feature on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, saying self-building is an affordable option.
He said the policy would be approved before the next election, but would then be a key part of a second Conservative government if his party wins.
George Osborne indicated in the Budget that there would be support for self-builders, saying £150million had been set aside to help the first wave of councils sell 10,000 plots.
But it is hoped this will be extended to hundreds of thousands of people and the cash councils earn from selling the land could be ploughed back into developing new areas for home-building.
Mr Boles has already angered countryside campaigners by claiming an area the size of London needs to be made into new homes and his attempt to tear up planning rules on extensions.
He is likely to encounter further opposition from traditionalists as it emerged that councils which do not sell off land could have it seized by the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, which will administer the home-building scheme.
Mr Boles said should be enough plots for another 100,000 homes by 2015, and said the scheme would generate the same ‘electric shock to the system’ as Right to Buy, Margaret Thatcher’s flagship policy allowing tenants to buy their council houses, did in the 1980s.
Britain is well behind other countries in self-building, with just 10,000 constructed every year, compared with around 60pc of all home in Germany France and Italy.George Osborne indicated in the Budget there would be support for self-builders, saying £150million had been set aside to help the first wave of councils sell 10,000 plots (library image)
Mr Boles said in an interview with the Sunday Times: ‘I hope 50,000 a year are going to councils to demand this. The councils will have a legal duty to provide them with a site.
‘Giving council tenants the right to buy their houses and flats….created a vast new army of people with a stake in their community, and a valuable asset to leave to their children.’
The policy, which will be announced at an event on Tuesday, is not just for the well-off, he said. ‘Grand Designs makes it seem like self-build is for retired people or people who want to build an amazing house out of goat hair’, he said. ‘But this is an affordable option’.
Surveys suggest millions of people want to build their own homes. An individual or small group of people would team up with small building firms to build homes at a lower cost than those offered by the construction giants, he said. ‘This doesn’t mean spending the weekends laying the bricks yourself but you get the same house for much less money’.
According to the National Self-Build Association, most people spent £100,000 to £150,000 building their own home, excluding the land cost, which is around 25pc cheaper than buying an identical property.