The government has thrown its weight behind a push to encourage more people to build their own homes.
A slick 114-page report by Richard Bacon (the MP for South Norfolk, not the TV presenter) suggests that 30-40,000 custom and self-build (CSB) homes could and should be built in the UK each year.
Bacon’s review recommends a “major scaling up” of self-built homes to boost the nation’s overall housing supply. “This will see homes that can be built in weeks that are better designed, built to the highest environmental standards and with cheaper household bills,” explains the Tory MP – who criticises the existing planning system for being so complex that only major companies can navigate it – resulting in “houses desinged by accountants”.
Richard Bacon’s six self-building recommendations:
1. Greater role for Homes England
The Government should create a new Custom and Self-Build Housing Delivery Unit within Homes England to enable the creation of serviced building plots on small and large sites and support the delivery of custom and self-build housing at scale across the country.
2. Raise Awareness of the Right to Build
The Government, working through Homes England in partnership with the custom and self-build industry, should create a custom and self-build housing Show Park and should strengthen existing legislation to mandate the wider publicity of Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Registers and the sharing of key data between willing landowners and people on registers.
3. Support Community-Led Housing, Diversity of Supply and Levelling Up
The Government should reignite the successful Community Housing Fund; create accessible opportunities for communities to help themselves by introducing a Self-Help Housing Programme; and introduce a Plot to Rent Scheme.
4. Promote Greener homes and more use of advanced manufacturing
The Government should recognise and support the pathfnding role of the custom and self-build housing sector in advanced manufacturing and in greener homes to accelerate the delivery of its wider Modern Methods of Construction and Net Zero Housing ambitions.
5. Support Custom and Self-build housebuilding through the Planning Reforms
The Government should ensure that the planning reforms in its White Paper Planning for the future maximise the opportunities for access to permissioned land for CSB across all tenures, including making focussed changes to the Right to Build legislation to ensure that it achieves its objectives.
6. Iron out any tax creases
The Government should investigate the perceived disadvantages in the tax system between the CSB delivery model and other forms of housing, identifying specific actions where necessary to neutralise them.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has “warmly welcomed” these ideas, pointing out that the government has already committed £150 million for the Help to Build scheme, which allow home builders to borrow money with lower deposits. There’s also some funding for local councils to create “high quality serviced plots that are ready to go” for self-build projects.
More detail on Help to Build is due to be published this Autumn, alongside an official MHCLG response to the Bacon Review.
Read the full report here:
Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary: “As we build back better we want to help more people build their own home, making it an option for thousands who’ve not considered it or ruled it out before. This will help get more people on to the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people’s needs whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.
“I warmly welcome Richard Bacon’s report which matches our ambitions for the custom and self-build sector. We will consider it fully and respond to the recommendations in due course.
“The launch of the Help to Build equity loan scheme will be a game-changer to the self and custom build market and will allow individuals to borrow with lower deposit mortgages which will go towards the design and build of their new home.”
Richard Bacon MP: “We need to build more and better new homes. Custom and self-build can help achieve this, by putting customers and their choices back at the heart of the process. When customers come first, we will see more homes built – that are better designed, better built, greener and which cost less to run – and which are warmly welcomed by their communities. This review sets out a route map for how we can achieve this much needed change.”