The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has put together a 10-point manifesto which spells out the challenges that Theresa May’s government must take on board to help it meet the housing crisis.
The manifesto lists the key points that are essential for a better housing market, with particular reference to how self and custom build, through the Right to Build, can contribute to alleviating the housing shortage.
1 Raise public awareness of the Right to Build in England (and equivalent in Scotland, Wales and NI) with a consumer campaign to help more of the 53% of adults who would like to build their own home to fulfill their ambition.
2 Introduce a ‘Help to Build’ equity loan scheme for affordable self build homes to help more people get on the housing ladder and deliver a more diversified supply of new homes.
3 Release more public sector land for the creation of serviced custom and self build plots – including low cost, affordable plots.
4 Incentivise the public sector to develop custom build starter homes to accelerate delivery and extend housing choice. This could be through access to low cost funding.
5 Allow communities to use exception site planning permissions for custom and self-build homes where they are for local people, key workers and others who satisfy a ‘local connection test’.
6 Incentivise landowners to create and sell serviced plots direct to market by equalising the tax status with that for selling land in a single transaction to the volume housebuilders.
7 Introduce tax relief for gifts of land and property for community-led housebuilding.
8 Continue to exempt small scale custom and self-build developments from town hall taxes intended for the big speculative housebuilders – and ensure this is available across the UK.
9 Encourage rural authorities to allow people who meet a local connection test to build an affordable home so they can stay in the area (retained at a discount to market value in perpetuity).
10 Simplify the process for community groups to buy land and get planning permission for homes, including preferential bidder status on the sale of public sector land.
“Growing the custom and self build sector will help to democratise housebuilding, giving local communities more control over who gets to build what and where,” said Michael Holmes, NaCSBA Chair.
“Communities will have the ability to meet local housing demand, ensuring that future generations can afford to become homeowners in the area in which they live and work and that there is suitable housing for older people.”
With a new Housing and Planning Minister in power, it’s vital that Right To Build stays firmly on the agenda. Brexit will dominate every minute of this cabinet’s tenure, but it’s crucial that the industry builds on the successes made in the last few years. Housing must remain on the agenda. What’s interesting with this manifesto is the emphasis on affordability – this is the real hurdle custom build must leap to truly get the rubber stamp of all local authorities.