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Lucas Hickman Smith has released a ‘white paper’ calling for Norfolk’s local planning authorities to respond positively to the policy lead on self-build housing laid down recently by central government.

Last year 14,000 new homes in the UK were self-built or self-commissioned. That’s an impressive 10% of the national total, but a very low percentage compared to the rest of Europe, where figures of between 30 and 70% are more typical. With this assumed pent-up demand in mind the government recently announced a package of measures which it hopes will lead to a step-change in the number of people building or commissioning their own homes.

The most important of these is the inclusion of a ‘self-build clause’ in the new National Planning Policy Framework, which appears to place local authorities under a duty to address the demand for self-build land in their area and then cater for that demand.

‘Like much of the NPPF the wording of paragraph 159 leaves some room for interpretation’, explains our Matt Wood, ‘but to us the government’s intention seems clear; and we think promoting self-build in Norfolk could have some real practical benefits’. The paper outlines the following benefits of self-build:

Environment: Self-build homes tend to be designed to higher standards of energy and water efficiency than spec-built homes.

Design: Self-built homes display greater variety in their design, and seeing more of them might encourage house-builders to be more imaginative.

Housing Supply: New self-build allocations would increase the supply of housing land, and including self-build plots within larger sites already allocated might give local communities a new incentive to embrace development in their area.

Economy: Imposing quotas for self-build plots on national house-builders would create more work for smaller, regionally based contractors, suppliers, surveyors and architects, benefitting the local economy.

The primary audience for the paper is the county’s seven district and borough councils, but a supporting website (www.selfbuildnorfolk.co.uk) urges Norfolk’s potential self-builders to register their interest and make their views known to their local councillors. Why not join us in calling for a self-build revolution in Norfolk?

Read more here.

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