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).