NaCSBA responds to the findings of the Letwin Review, and supports greater housing diversity through Custom and Self-Build

NaCSBA welcomes the publication of the findings of Sir Oliver Letwin’s Independent Review of Build Out. Published this week, the review includes his core conclusion that a lack of diversity of build types is at the heart of slow build-out rates on large sites.
Sir Oliver Letwin visits Graven Hill
Sir Oliver Letwin visited Graven Hill in March 2018

The findings reinforce the actions proposed by the recent RIBA report, 10 Characteristics of Places Where People Want to Live.  Identifying that Custom and Self-Build should be a vital element in placemaking, and that more needs to be done to support and enable a greater number of serviced plots coming onto the market.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappel, CEO of NaCSBA said, “NaCSBA thanks Sir Oliver Letwin for the work that he has undertaken. NaCSBA believes that the primary reason for low build-out rates on large sites is that the properties being delivered are not what many are looking for. In contrast, we strongly believe that the Custom and Self-Build sector can deliver more and better homes. Bespoke homes that more people aspire to live in and that communities are happier to see built.

“Research shows that most developed countries operate a broad balance between owner-commissioned homes and those built by speculative builders. As such, the UK is very much an outlier in this market. Although this is slowly changing, the planning system and land supply in the UK is stacked in favour of larger developers and larger schemes. Therefore, the focus of this report on building diversity —  including homes for Custom and Self-Build — is exactly what is required, and not just on the largest sites either.

“As Sir Oliver has noted, the need for diversity of supply is fully consistent with the new National Planning Policy Framework. NaCSBA shares his view that action is required to ensure that policy flows through into actual housing delivery, including meeting obligations under the Right to Build. NaCSBA is also very clear that homes commissioned by their occupants are not only for conventional home ownership, but that all sectors can benefit all, such as affordable housing including homes for social rent.”

Making Custom and Self-Build a mainstream choice

The Letwin Review is an important part of making Custom and Self-Build a mainstream choice on mainstream sites, but there is more that the Government can, and should, do to create a more level playing field.

NaCSBA looks forward to the Government’s response to the report in February 2019.

NaCSBA strongly encourages members of the public interested in building their own home to register for their Right to Build by visiting NaCSBA’s Right to Build portal.

About NaCSBA

The National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) is the voice for the Custom and Self-Build industry across the UK. Its mission is to substantially increase the number of people able to build or commission their own home. NaCSBA estimates that over 13,000 Custom and Self-Build homes were built last year, but it shares the Government’s ambitions to deliver 20,000 homes by 2020.

The Self-Build Portal is NaCSBA’s consumer website, offering help, information and advice to anyone interested in creating their own home through Custom Build, Self-Build or community-led housing.

Right to Build Task Force

The Right to Build Task Force was launched in February 2017 with the aim of helping at least 80 Local Authorities, community groups and other organisations across the UK delivery significantly more affordable Custom and Self-Build housing projects. A NaCSBA initiative endorsed by the Government in its White Paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’, the Task Force has received funding from the Nationwide Foundation, which aims to increase the availability of decent affordable homes for people in housing need.

With its emphasis on scale and housing affordability, the Task Force offers subsidised support for local authorities and community groups, to enable them to identify the best way to meet the demand on their Right to Build registers, as well as market-rate advice to a range of stakeholders. Find out more about the Task Force on the Right to Build Toolkit website.

Right to Build registers

NaCSBA issued a Freedom of Information to all English Local Authorities on 1 November 2017 requesting the numbers of people and groups of people on their registers. It found that 33,000 had now signed up to the registers. This was based on the data supplied by more than three quarters of the authorities who responded. The remaining results were extrapolated based on the average of the responses received.

The Right to Build registers are a key evidence tool for housing assessment, so if you are interested in signing up to your local Right to Build register, please visit the Right to Build Portal.

About RIBA’s 10 Characteristics of Places Where People Want to Live

On 25 October, the RIBA published a report about placemaking and the evidence demonstrating the relationship between design quality and the rate of supply in the delivery of much-needed affordable homes. The analysis acknowledges the valuable contribution that Self and Custom Build can have in contributing to placemaking and the creation of communities. You can read the full report here.

A copy of the findings of the Independent Review of Build Out are available from the website.