I haven’t read the detail yet (indeed I don’t even know if there is any detailed thinking yet), but this week’s Queens Speech said that A “Right to Build” will be introduced, under which local authorities must identify and release “shovel-ready” plots for self-build or for residents to commission a local builder to build their home.
I have said before that if we are to increase the level of self-build by a meaningful amount it is totally necessary for serviced plots to be made available; and these plots must already have most of the Town and Country Planning work already done on them before they are sold to the self-builders. This work must include design frameworks and guides which still allow for flexibility.
But all of this takes resources and money which need to be spent upfront and I can’t see where the Local Authorities who are going to be made responsible for identifying and releasing these ‘shovel-ready’ plots are going to get this money from.
In addition, if we are going to start to catch up with countries such as Holland on the numbers of self-build homes, we have to be influenced by some of their practices such as sites being owned by the local authority, and these local authorities selling plots at a fixed price and not to the highest bidders at an ever increasing price.
Don’t forget that ‘Failing to Plan leads to Planning to Fail’, and I am concerned that this is exactly what will happen.