Could the government’s Right to Buy review make it easier for more people to build their own homes?

It’s easy to become obsessed with the idea of self-building. After all, who doesn’t want to create their perfect home?

But finding the land in your area isn’t always as easy as you think.

The news that the government is currently reviewing its Right to Build laws is welcomed by wannabe self and custom builders.

So what does it mean for those looking to build?

Well, councils are required to keep a register of those who wish to build in their local area. And by 30th October each year – ‘Right to Build’ day – councils should have granted planning permission to enough suitable plots to match the demand on their register.

But things can only get better and the government’s Right to Build review will explore how effectively these arrangements are supporting self and custom builders, including whether they increase land available to support these homes.

The Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has urged for more transparency. He wants to understand how councils are meeting the needs of self-builders and custom builders and aims to annually publish the data councils collect on self and custom build in their area. He has written to councils to ensure they consider the demand for these homes when providing land for building and making planning decisions in their area.

You can find more information on how to find a building plot here.

Potential building plot

The government is also supporting councils through the work of the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) ‘Right to Build Task Force’, providing £200,000 of funding over the last two years.

This taskforce has been commissioned to run online workshops with local councils to support the delivery of more self and custom build homes. It also provides advice and information to organisations including local authorities, landowners, land promoters and developers, to support the delivery of custom and self-build homes.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO, said the review should help “more people to achieve their dream of living in better and more beautiful homes.”

Recent research by NaCSBA found that one in three British adults were interested in self-building at some point but access to suitable land was a challenge for 42 per cent.

Andrew added: “England has the lowest known rate of self-commissioned homes in the developed world. Our new homes market is crying out for the greener and higher quality build that goes hand-in-hand with more consumer choice. Housing diversification is key to the government’s housing strategy.”

Richard Bacon MP, Ambassador for the Right to Build Task Force, also welcomed the news saying: “Some local councils are already doing an excellent job in providing more opportunities but some others are not yet supporting the spirit of the legislation and have some way to go if they are to grasp the huge opportunities for more and better housing which greater customer choice offers.”

NaCSBA’s online YouGov research further revealed that more than 59 per cent of respondents said access to finance remained the biggest barrier to self and custom building.

With land and finance as two of the biggest challenges for anyone wanting to create their own home, government have also thrown some cash into the mix. The Help to Build funding boost will help more people to build more sustainable and more beautiful homes.

Find out more about the planning permission process and where to begin here.

Couple looking at plans

What is the Right to Build and what should your local council be doing?

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016), sometimes known as ‘the Right to Build’, requires councils to:

  • Keep a register of individuals and groups who wish to self or custom build in their local area.
  • Have regard to demand on their register when undertaking planning, housing, disposal of land and regeneration functions.
  • Grant permissions to enough suitable serviced plots to reflect the demand within three years.
Land Planning