03 Jun 2016

Glasgow brings on Scotland’s first site with serviced-plots, a design code and plot passports

Glasgow brings on Scotland’s first site with serviced-plots, a design code and plot passports

Glasgow City Council is bringing on a six-plot site in Maryhill, Glasgow, as a pilot to test the local appetite for enabled self build in the city, the first such scheme in Scotland. The Bantaskin Street site is part of a larger regeneration project to create a contemporary urban village with shops and community facilities, set between the River Kelvin and the refurbished canal locks.

Glasgow City Council has committed to diversifying its local housing supply, and self build is an integral part of its housing strategy under its People Make Glasgow Home housing strategy. Angela Doran, Self Build Coordinator at Glasgow City Council explains: “Glasgow’s population is rising, and the council is keen to promote alternative, affordable models of housing that helps people to stay living in the city, rather than having to move out to find homes that suit their needs.

Glasgow City Council's Angela Doran

Glasgow City Council’s Angela Doran

“Building your own home gives you something very personal and flexible that suits your needs, not to mention a huge sense of achievement. But the council recognises that it can be a challenging process, and this is exactly why we want to help.  One of the biggest hurdles self builders face is finding land, together with finance and planning issues. So we’ve tried to help with all three of these areas, with the provision of serviced plots and a simplified approach to planning including plot passports and a design code, helping to address these issues.”

“If self builders design their houses according to the passport and code, then there is no need for them to go through the formal planning process – they will simply submit their designs for approval. This has never been done before in Scotland,” says Doran.

This is an enabled self build route, as the council is providing services on the plots, and for this pilot project the self builders can choose their own architect and contractor, with the council interested in seeing a variety of homes. To facilitate this process it intends to run a design workshop that will give potential buyers the chance to discuss their projects with a range of architects for free, to help them formulate their ideas.

“Self-build provides the opportunity for people to work together – sharing costs and building relationships as they build their houses. Self builders invest emotionally in their homes and are more likely to stay in the community for the long term,” she says.

So far two distinct groups have shown interest in the project, reports Doran; local families wishing to stay in the area who can’t find suitable housing locally, and those with an ambition to build a sustainable home, which marries well with the biodiverse area. Depending on the response and the outcome, the council is considering a second site, which would potentially also include custom build and cohousing opportunities.

This comes at a time when Scotland has committed to increasing its housing supply, as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently confirmed that the Scottish Government would be honouring its pre-election pledge to build at least 50,000 homes during this parliament, with 35,000 of these affordable.

For more information about Bantaskin Street contact Glasgow City Council at selfprovidedhousing@glasgow.gov.uk

Editor’s comment

The legislation around the custom and self build registers is English, so it’s great to see Glasgow innovating by bringing on Scotland’s first enabled self builds. The country has a long tradition of self build, and a new offering in the route to housing supply should be applauded. Not only will it be providing customised homes for the purchasers, but the site is sympathetic to the needs of an urban, yet biodiverse area, within a challenging city environment. Precisely the sort of area that would benefit from the social equity and community feeling that custom build helps engender.

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