First Published 18 February 2016
Not enough housing? Then free up land for more self-build, says Tommy Walsh.
Up to 20,000 people build their own homes every year -that makes self-build the second largest provider of housing in the UK after Taylor Wimpey.
A new report from the National Self Build Association says that there is the potential to increase this to 50,000 or more homes a year if land were made available.
I have just had my first go at self-build after 40 years in the construction business. I built a house in 60 days, for £60,000, on a site that cost me £60,000.
If that is possible, why isn’t the system geared up to encourage self-build? Why don’t we allow more people to design and build their own homes?
Lots of people are fed up with what’s on offer and would prefer to self-build a home that would more closely match their needs.
If it were possible to buy modestly priced plots of land, many younger people or those on modest wages would be able to build a home of their own. It would also help community cohesiveness, as many self-builders have to work with their neighbours to get projects off the ground.
From this point of view, the government’s reluctance to make more land available for self-builders doesn’t make sense.
And planning is another obstacle that should be reviewed. The rules for new developments create conflict by placing luxury property for sale to the well off alongside social housing. This creates animosity on both sides.
Self-build developments actually strengthen community links because everybody makes an investment that crosses and supersedes financial and social divides.
Tommy Walsh is a builder and presenter of Ground Force.