Despite the impending challenge of negotiating a Brexit deal, the issue of housing will undoubtedly remain a key issue for the next government.
Even though there have been a number of calls to boost the number of new homes in the UK to 200,000 per year, actual numbers are still falling well short of this. There remains a severe shortage of housing, not least at the affordable end of the price spectrum.
Last week I wrote about the FMB’s plan, addressing how the next government can grow the number of dwellings built annually. Now the National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) is eager to ensure the issue remains at the forefront of national policy with their manifesto of 10 key points that can help enable a significant boost to self and custom build. Central to their proposal is the need to tackle the two biggest obstacles to one-off projects – finding land and getting planning permission.
NaCSBA are also keen to raise the public profile of the Right to Build scheme, which has the potential to force the hand of local authorities throughout England in providing more serviced plots, but only if there is sufficient awareness of it amongst those interested in self-building.
“Increasing the supply of new homes should be a priority for all political parties. Custom and self-build could deliver an additional 40-50,000 new homes a year, increasing affordability, sustainability and housing choice. Support for the sector is likely to be popular with the millions who have an ambition to build their own home,” says NaCSBA Chair, Michael Holmes, commenting on the Conservative Party Manifesto pledge to increase and diversify housebuilding in the UK.
NaCSBA’s 10 key action points:
- 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.
- 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.
- Release more public sector land for the creation of serviced custom and self-build plots – including low cost, affordable plots.
- Incentivise the public sector, for instance through access to low cost funding, to develop custom build starter homes to accelerate delivery and extend housing choice.
- 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’.
- Incentivise landowners to create and sell serviced plots direct to market by equalizing the tax status with that for selling land in a single transaction to the volume housebuilders.
- Introduce tax relief for gifts of land and property for community led housebuilding.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.