According to recent plans announced by the government, councils will be forced to make land available for self builders. Government will also be keeping track of the proposal’s progress with their frequently-updated Right to Build Hub.
‘Right to Build’, the new land release scheme is targeted at individual self builders and enables them to gain access to council-owned land, which would be provided as viable, serviced building plots.
Self builders, who feel they are not being provided with sufficient opportunity or land for self build schemes, will be able to officially challenge councils to do so. In addition it will be the local authority’s legal duty to provide suitable plots.
While over 5,000 serviced plots have been released, the participation of many local authorities remains inadequate. The government is therefore intervening in order to provide self builders with more power.
How Right to Build will work
The details of the scheme are vague at present; however here is some insight as to how the scheme will function:
- The policy may come into action before the end of this term, or it might be postponed until after the 2015 elections have taken place.
- Anyone with a local connection will be entitled to demand the purchase of a plot of land on which to build their own home.
- Councils will have a legal obligation to provide that land; and it will most likely have to be ‘serviced’ (i.e. have water, electricity and heating connections on site)
- Any money made by the council through the sale of the land will be available to reinvest in new sites.
- The scheme will presumably be pushed out through ‘vanguard’ councils – who will be among the first to access the new £150m custom build fund intended to release 10,000 service plots.
- Once the full scheme is launched, councils who that fail to co-operate may face having land seized from them via the Homes & Communities Agency. They may also suffer funding cuts, such as being frozen out of the new homes bonus.
In a recent speech during National Custom & Self Build Week, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles said:
“Home ownership is held up as the ultimate aspiration, but just imagine stepping over the doorstep of a home you’ve designed for yourself. There are over 6 million of us with a dream of building our own home. Our £150 million budget boost to self-builders will turn your vision into bricks and mortar. The Right to Build scheme will provide the solid foundation for grand design dreams, unlick council and other land as a right, rather than a request, to help self builders secure their desired plot.”
Planning minister Nick Boles has also put across the case for Right to Build. Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group in March, he said:
“We want to convert the urge to assess into a crystal clear demand for self build, and establish a waiting list of self builders as popular and well-known as the social housing list. We want a vanguard of local councils who will be front-runners for the Right to Build. If local councils do this, we will help them identify land and use the £150m fund to service plots. ”
Speaking more recently during National Custom & Self Build Week, Boles said:
“Custom building a house can be a cheaper way to provide a home for you and your family and I want to see many more people making use of it. It has got to be a legal right to get a plot of land to build your house. We need lots more people out there saying ‘it’s my land, give it to me – and I will sue you if you don’t’. This Right to Build, if it were introduced, would be a statutory right that citizens have if they have a local connection to a place.”