Increase in number of wannabe selfbuilders

The number of people registering an interest in self- or custom-build rose by a third compared with a rise of just seven per cent for approved planning permissions over the same period.

Government statistics show 12,263 individuals joined custom- and self-build registers between October 31, 2020 and October 30, 2021 – a 31 per cent year-on-year increase – while 157 new groups joined the register – a 12 per cent rise on the previous year.

However, there were just 8,309 planning permissions for serviced plots rover the same period.

"These numbers remain far short of the numbers that reflect underlying demand here in England, and the delivery rate in every other developed country,” said National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) chief executive Andrew Baddeley-Chappell. “There are many reasons for this. Awareness of the registers remains low, and barriers to joining in many cases too high."

He said some authorities charged to be on the register such as Three Rivers District Council which asks for £725 to join and remain on the list for three years.

Mr Baddeley-Chappell also called into question the accuracy of the registers with a lack of clarity over how to record suitable permissions.

"We estimate around 20,000 entries have been wrongly removed from registers. The reality is that the percentage of homes on small sites has halved in the last 10 years."

Mr Baddeley-Chappell told Housing Today that councils were not bringing forward enough plots with permission to meet registered demand.

He said there was a tendency to favour granting permission for larger sites and those marked on Local Plans. Lack of resources and land to give for self- and custom-build plots was a problem. Authorities often had to acquire plots indirectly on the edge of another development which could be difficult, he said.

The NaCSBA wants the selfbuilding and custom housebuilding regulations of 2016, requiring councils to register individual and group interests, to be reviewed to sanction poorly performing authorities.

Last summer the Bacon Review recommended raising awareness about custom- and self-build as well as ironing out tax and planning issues. The review estimated the sector could deliver 30,000 homes annually if its measures were implemented.


12 May 2022