Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Minister pledges more help for custom-built housing

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has promised to help turn custom-built housing into a mainstream option rather than the minority interest it is at present.

His pledge came in a speech at think tank The Policy Exchange which revealed that currently custom-built housing represents 10 per cent of the new-build total.

He said: “There are over 50 councils supporting self-builders – by making land available or supporting individuals and community groups with their schemes and there were 11,000 custom-build projects last year. That’s around 1 in 10 of all the new houses in the country - a £4bn boost for the national economy.

“We believe we can go further - that with support and nurturing the custom-build industry can double in size over the next few years. We can make this a mainstream option not a minority interest.

“That is why we will do even more to increase the land available with planning guidance that asks Councils to actively assess the demand for self-build in their area.

“Councils will put together a register of interested people who can then benefit when suitable land becomes available. We will also carry out a review of the Homes and Communities Agency’s land to identify more land that is suitable for small scale projects and publicise that to would-be self-builders.

“And we will strengthen the Community Right to Reclaim Land so that more publicly owned land is sold off and brought back into use.”

He confirmed that ministers would introducing a Council Tax discount for self-built family annexes and planned to exempt self-builders from “unreasonable” section 106 charges and from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).