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The long-awaited Government White Paper on Housing Fixing our broken housing market has been published today by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs as he presented the Paper that, over the past three decades, the UK has had the lowest rate of housebuilding by population in western Europe and that is something he is determined to address. He stated: We need to build more of the right houses in the right place, and we need to start right now.

The Paper itself has a hugely positive message for custom build – the Government wants to see the industry blossom, and has set out a series of measures to boost this.

The paper states Fewer homes are custom built in England than many other countries, but there is evidence of more demand for them including from older people.

The main barriers to custom built homes are access to land and finance. Mortgages for custom and self-built homes represent a very small proportion of the overall lending market. We have already taken steps to improve access to land. The new Right to Build requires local planning authorities to find land for those seeking a custom built home in their area, and they must keep a register of those wanting to build their own home.

To build on this, the Paper outlines that the Government will:

  • Promote the National Custom and Self Build Associations portal for Right to Build
  • Ensure the exemption from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for self build remainsin place while longer term reforms to the system of developer contributions are being explored
  • Support custom build through our Accelerated Construction programme
  • Work with lenders to ensure they have plans in place to increase their lending in line with consumer demand

Regarding these measures, NaCSBA Chair Michael Holmes commented: NaCSBA is very pleased to see Government policy is ever more supportive of custom and self build. The White Paper shows clear ongoing commitment to The Right to Build and the promise to introduce more legislation should local planning authorities fail to fulfil their duty to assess demand for custom and self build and permission sufficient plots to meet that demand.

The White Paper sets out the Government’s support for the, which provides links to all local authority demand registers. It also confirms the extension of CIL relief for custom and self build homes, and support through the Accelerated Construction Programme, which could see direct commissioning of serviced plots of custom build starter homes.

Another significant development is the response to NaCSBA’s request for national planning policy to be changed to allow small ‘windfall’ sites to be brought forward outside of the local planfor housebuilding. In particular for custom and self build homes. Using small undeveloped sites within existing settlements is also given greater emphasis, and although not specifically mentioned this might well include large gardens.

The White Paper also sets out the Government’s support for the soon to be launched Right To Build Task Force, which will assist local authorities in bringing forward schemes for custom and self build homes through expert advice. More information on this will follow in the coming weeks.

To download a copy of the White Paper, click here>>