More people looking to start a building project, including affordable homes for their local community, will receive support, Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Don Foster has said.
Self-build is an important element of the Coalition Government’s housing strategy, and supports action to help building firms and get empty and redundant buildings back into use. The scheme has been supported by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.
The measures announced will complement steps already taken to dismantle barriers that hold back self-build projects: limited land availability, reluctance by lenders to provide finance and red tape.
Mr Foster unveiled a series of measures to ensure the self-build market is opened up to those on lower incomes. These include:
- Providing new grant funding for community self-builders
- Working with councils to increase land for self-build plots
- Removing unfair taxes from self-builders
- Freeing up more redundant public sector land for self-builders
- Raising awareness about self-build
Mr Foster said the measures would help end the misconception that self-build is the pastime of a privileged elite, rather than a mainstream option. In 2012-13 almost 11,000 new homes were self-built, in an industry worth up to £4 billion for the UK economy.
He explained Ministers were determined anyone with aspirations to build their own home has the opportunity. He said the self-build industry can double in size over the next 10 years.
Don Foster said:
"For many people the concept of building your own home means one thing: a fantasy mansion built by people with deep pockets and endless spare time.
“We are determined to end this misconception so anyone with aspirations to build their own home has the opportunity to do so, including people on low incomes.
"That is why we will give community-led groups the chance to apply for a share of £65 million to build the affordable homes they want in their area, and introduce other measures to boost access to land and end unfair taxes.
"These measures will open the door for hundreds of potential building projects across the country, and consolidate the progress we have already made to establish self-build as a mainstream option.”
Self-build industry champion Kevin McCloud said: “It’s great that many of these additional measures are focused on helping people on modest incomes deliver affordable self-build homes.
“I particularly like the fact community self-build groups will be able to get funding, and that more small plots of public owned land will be made available to self-builders.
“The news self-builders will be exempted from the Community Infrastructure Levy and other similar charges will also be well received. Collectively, the measures should result in thousands of additional self-build homes being built over the coming years.”
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