18,000 prospective self-builders sign up for their Right to Build

Research carried out by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has revealed that around 18,000 people have signed up to local authority self- and custom-build registers under the Government’s Right to Build.

NaCSBA requested freedom of information data from England’s 336 councils to compile its report, which was launched in December at the Right to Build Expo in London. The association revealed that 14,300 people signed up to the registers between 1 April and 31 October 2016. In addition a total of 12 councils were chosen as “vanguards” in 2014 to pioneer the scheme, with 3,700 people signing up.

Richard Bacon MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Self-Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Place-Making, commented on the results so far:

“I’m delighted that about 18,000 people and groups of people have so far signed up to the Right to Build registers across England.”

He added however that despite individual councils such as Cherwell seeing over 2,000 people registered, “showing the true potential of custom and self-build,” some others were lagging behind.

“There are still 20 laggards that have not set their registers up or have yet to market them,” said Bacon. “Imagine the potential once all the registers are up and running and, like Cherwell, all councils apply full effort to marketing their registers.”

Chair of NaCSBA Michael Holmes commented on his organisation’s research. He said:

“This amount of people and groups of people signing up to the Custom and Self Build demand registers is a great achievement, but it is also the tip of the iceberg. Some councils have only operated their registers for a few months and some have yet to establish theirs.”

He said that local authorities have up to three years to meet their obligation to grant enough development permissions for serviced plots to meet demand, adding however:

 “With the number of people now registering month on month it is essential they start consenting serviced plots now to stay on top of meeting demand.”

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell commented:

“In countries like Holland and Germany, far more people build or commission their own home than in the UK, and all at reasonable prices.

“We want Britain to catch up, so self- and custom-build becomes a mainstream, affordable choice. That’s why we’ve set a target of 20,000 self- and custom-build homes per year by 2020. “18,000 people have already signed up and it shows there is a real appetite across the country for doing things differently.”

The Right to Build Expo was staged at the Building Centre in London in December, and attended by planners, developers and custom-build professionals, who discussed what more can be done to further the self- and custom-build sector.