The Government’s news site posted this yesterday… good news for self-builders somewhere!


Second wave of government land to be released for self-build housing.

Four new sites for self-build housing released by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Aspiring self-builders will have the chance to realise their ambitions thanks to 4 new sites which are being released by the Homes and Communities Agency, Kris Hopkins said today (12 November 2013).

The sites form part of a wider government programme to support the growth of the custom build housing sector and give more people the opportunity to build their own homes.

The Housing Minister said these new sites will form around 70 plots for new homes. This will add to the 130 plots which are being made available under a government commitment to free up land for those looking to build their own homes.

The custom build sector builds about 1 in 10 new homes in this country – yet this is fewer than many other European countries and there is substantial growth potential in this market with more people wanting to build their own home than ever before. The expansion of this sector presents a significant business opportunity for smaller house builders and provides jobs and work for local architects, builders and local suppliers.

Speaking to the Federation of Master Builders at a summit jointly organised with the National Self Build Association, Mr. Hopkins urged smaller developers to seize the business opportunity presented by this untapped market, and offer custom build opportunities to the thousands of self-builders waiting to get their projects off the ground.

Kris Hopkins said:

We are determined to help aspiring self-builders up and down the country who want to build the home of their dreams but can’t find a plot to get started.

That’s why we’ve committed to lead the way by making our formerly-used public sector land available for self-builders, and why today we’re making 4 further sites available, taking the total to 12.

We are seeing a new kind of house building model emerging in this country and I am pleased to see how positively the development industry and many councils are responding. With the self-build industry contributing some £4 billion annually to the UK economy, I want to encourage more builders to make the most of this business opportunity and offer custom build options on their sites.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said:

We’re delighted the new Housing Minister is picking up where his predecessor left off in engaging with us to find new ways to encourage and incentivise small and medium sized house builders to bring more new homes to market. The economic downturn has really taken its toll on capacity, with many of our members reporting that it just hasn’t stacked up for them financially to build houses for various reasons.

Thanks to this really productive summit, held in conjunction with the National Self-Build Association (NaSBA) and DCLG, many FMB members should have renewed confidence that there are genuine opportunities for them to build more new houses. FMB members are well-placed to deliver the quality products this new generation of custom build clients demands – innovative, affordable and financially viable properties that will ensure diversity in the market and go some way to tackling Britain’s alarming housing deficit. This is why the FMB is taking the lead in working with NaSBA to promote the growth of the custom build sector, including working to develop an online platform which can better link up FMB members experienced in delivering self-build and custom build projects with clients who want a home built.

Ted Stevens, Chair of the National Self Build Association (NaSBA), said:

The custom build sector is set to take off over the next few years. A recent NaSBA progress report to the government suggested that up to 4,000 additional self or custom build opportunities are currently in the pipeline, thanks to a range of initiatives now being undertaken by the Homes and Communities Agency, and around 50 local councils.

This growth will provide opportunities to a large number of small builders – the vast majority of ‘self-builders’ already rely on a local building contractor to build their new homes. There is also an opportunity for some house builders to set themselves up as custom build developers, taking existing tracts of land and carving these up into individual serviced building plots. NaSBA is delighted to be working with the FMB to aid the growth of custom build sector and to increase the opportunities available to small house builders and their customers.

Claire O’Shaughnessy, Head of Land and Regeneration at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said:

We are pleased to be able to put forward several HCA-owned sites that could be utilised for self-build housing schemes. One of our key aims, in supporting the government’s land ambitions, is to increase the amount of land available for development and speed up the rate at which it is brought forward.

Unlocking a supply of land is often a major barrier to getting schemes off the ground, therefore the sites we have identified will play a small yet significant part in helping aspiring self-builders do just that.

Further information on sites to be released

The sites being announced today and which will be marketed for development by the Homes and Communities Agency on formerly-used public sector land are:

  • Urban Pioneers, Middlehaven
  • Oxley Park, Milton Keynes
  • Pound Lane South, Basildon
  • Lightmoor Village, Telford

The government is also looking to run a pilot project on a further public land site which will test the workability and benefits of disposing serviced building plots on a larger scale. Details of the pilot will be made available shortly.

The sites being released are in addition to the 8 sites which are already being brought forward by the Homes and Communities Agency. Read more details on the sites.

Examples of projects and progress on the government’s custom build homes programme are set out in ‘A second progress report to government on the implementation of the action plan to promote the growth of self build housing’ (National Self Build Association, August, 2013.) There’s also further information on the Self Build Portal.

Custom build (or ‘self build’) homes are homes built or commissioned by individuals or groups of individuals for their own use, either by building the home on their own or working with builders. Custom home building typically involves individuals commissioning the construction of a new house from a builder, contractor or package company or, in a modest number of cases, physically building a house for themselves.

Laying the foundations: a housing strategy for England sets out the government’s plans to support social mobility and get the housing market – and in particular new house building – moving again, including a custom build homes programme to support and encourage more individuals and communities to build their own homes.

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