Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Plan-makers urged to do more to cater for self-build homes

Local planning committees need to be doing more to promote self-build and custom-build housing, planning and housing consultancy, the Three Dragons, argues.

A recently published research paper has been produced, stating that the self-build sector is set to become even more important as an additional source of housing supply, and that it is the responsibility of planning consultants to ensure that this demand is identified and catered for.

As well as incorporating the provision of self-build sites into local plan, and establishing demand when assessing planning, housing, land disposal, and regeneration, the report also comments on the need for councils to strengthen their techniques for identifying demand.

The report highlights the importance for councils to not simply rely on self-build registers, but to use strategic housing market assessments, and to ensure that applicant profiles have been thoroughly analysed.

Laura Easton, Senior Consultant, Three Dragons, noted how self-build specific policies are emerging within new local plans. “People are thinking about it. But nearly all existing local plans only give the sector a passing mention – nothing that would get schemes moving on the ground,” she said.

The paper urges council policy-makers to explore innovative ways of providing plots and making self-build an attractive option for landowners, suggesting a correlation between demand for self-build plots, and the availability of sites. "Advertising for plots is a slow and uncertain process that doesn’t bring much forward,” Easton comments. “Allocating sites is the best way forward.

 “There is a large task ahead to get the momentum going. Self-build needs to reach beyond its existing market of older and wealthier people whose children have left home and reach out to a wider range.”

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