In her most recent Planning Newsletter, Chief Planner Joanna Averley stressed the role that custom and self build has in securing greater housing diversity, and its contribution to empowering people to live in a home of their choice.
The newsletter, which goes out ever few months, provides an opportunity for the Chief Planner to share news about pressing and important changes in planning.
The February newsletter states, “Self and custom builders are well placed to build high quality, well designed homes that are energy efficient, accessible, affordable and welcomed by their communities.”
This is a welcome statement that stresses how the sector can work with wider goals that will support England to Build Back Better, such as the recently announced National Model Design Code.
Averley went on to stress the measures that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has undertaken to support the sector to scale up and address barriers. These include:
- a review of the efficacy of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (‘Right to Build’) in the context of wider planning reforms.
- A welcome update to the Planning Practice Guidance for self build and custom house building, provide greater clarity and certainty for authorities to bring more land forward.
- Publishing the data returns that local authorities have reported on self and custom build activity locally.
NaCSBA also welcomed the fact that the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is funding the Right to Build Task Force to provide introductory sessions for all English councils that it has yet to engage with.
This brings expert support and guidance to the heart of local authorities to support the delivery of self and custom build homes.
Mary Elkington, Acting Head of the Task Force, said: “The Task Force’s role in building capacity in custom and self build delivery is strengthened by the funding from MHCLG, meaning that it has national reach that can really make a difference at a local level.
“It is now five years since the Right to Build legislation came into effect and we are starting to see its impact, with the registers helping more people access a home that suits their needs and wants.
“The Task Force is well positioned to support this activity at a local authority level, whether with an MHCLG-funded introductory webinar or by more targeted consultancy support. The Chief Planner’s comments supports this activity, taking our message directly into the heads of planning across the country.”