Trinity Mews Custom Build homes

Responding to the publication of the Bacon Review recently, Custom Build Homes (CBH) welcomes the report by Richard Bacon MP, saying that, if fully implemented by the Government, it will lead to a significant increase in custom housebuilding – enabling many more people to create and design homes that work for them.

The Report which has been ‘warmly welcomed’ by Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, focusses on six main recommendations to open up the housing market and offer consumers much more choice in the homes they live in:

  1. A greater role for Homes England
  2. Raise awareness and show by ‘doing’
  3. Support community, diversity and levelling up
  4. Promote greener homes and Increased use of Modern Methods of Manufacturing (MMC)
  5. Align custom and self build changes with Planning reforms
  6. Iron out tax issues

The Review, which follows the recent publication of a Government Action Plan setting out what it plans to do support more people to build their own homes, has engaged a wide range of industry experts and other stakeholders, including those from abroad.

Supporting the review process

CBH had been closely involved in the Review through its Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement and ex-civil servant, Mario Wolf, who has supported Richard Bacon in his review.

To assist, CBH was also requested to provided primary research to help better understand the preferences of consumers over where and what type of homes they want to build. This found that many people do not have a strong preference about building a home on a single plot or on a larger housing site. There is also an overwhelming consumer preference for commissioning a bespoke home, built on a serviced plot, from a contractor or builder and buying a customisable home.

Top findings were:

  • 46% of people have no preference whether they build on a single plot or whether they build alongside a group of other houses (i.e. a larger housing site) and
  • 47% would prefer to build a bespoke home on a serviced plot with the support of a contractor or builder.

Mario Wolf, Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement at Custom Build Homes, said: “This Report marks a major milestone in the drive to scale-up the custom and self-build housing sector in this country and CBH welcomes its conclusions and recommendations.

“Richard has looked comprehensively at the growth potential of custom and self-build housing as a driver for more and better designed homes and much greater consumer choice. He has concluded there is a significant market ready to be unlocked through a series of targeted actions. We look forward to continuing to work with Richard and the Government to secure the timely implementation of his recommendations.”

Growing market

The market for custom build housing is growing rapidly and more and more landowners are coming forward with potential sites in response to consumer demand. What is needed is to convert more of these sites into real homes and showcase what this market is capable of delivering, as Bacon recommends.

For example, CBH recently launched a pilot custom build community at Trinity Mews (pictured), near Durham on public land in partnership with Durham County Council. So far the company has seen high pent up demand and viewings for the nine plots in short time, with demand emerging in other areas, often much higher than what local authorities are showing on their local registers.

What landowners are looking for is the support to bring sites forward and more permissive policies where councils fail to meet their statutory duties. Bacon’s recommendations for exception sites and targets to be introduced should therefore be welcomed.

The Review has also identified an urgent need for Government to support greater investment into the sector and it recognises the important role that enablers can play to drive up scale through custom build housing, learning from other markets.

CBH is well positioned to enable a range of landowners to bring forward custom housebuilding at scale. Customisation and modern methods of construction are important market drivers and the company knows that its customers have strong preferences for these products, thanks to fewer defects and substantially lower heating bills.

Bacon’s recommendations and the government’s ambition to delivering greener housing should also be welcomed. CBH data demonstrates that people want bigger homes and give the highest priority to plots and homes which are energy efficient, and which have a garden and garage.

CBH goes on to say that all of its developments are demand-led. With access to the UK’s leading database of over 100,000 people actively looking for an opportunity to have input into the design of their own home, CBH can bring forward sites which accurately respond to local demand and market plots and homes to a ready audience. This data is also proving crucial to support planning applications and appeals.

CBH urges anyone who wants to self-commission their own home to sign up to a self build register with their local authority or via the CBH Custom Build Register.

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