The Right To Build is a piece of English legislation that has not been replicated in the other UK countries. This is because, to greater and lesser degrees, devolvement gives these countries control over their housing and planning policies.
The Self Build Portal is a National Custom and Self-build Association (NaCSBA) website, and NaCSBA is working to ensure that Custom, Self-build and community-led housing are recognised in local policy approaches.
Unlike Wales, which is more similar to England in its approach to housing, both Scotland and N Ireland have a tradition of people self building.
In 2015 Homebuilding & Renovating magazine revealed that Scotland and N Ireland had high proportions of private, owner-commissioned home building, compared to the UK as a whole.
This was 13% in Scotland and 9% in N Ireland, as opposed to Wales’ 4%. For comparison purposes, most English regions came in at 6% or below. The most active UK regions were the South East (17%) and East of England and South West (both 12%).
Like Scotland and Ireland, Northern Ireland has a strong tradition of self-build.
However, statistics from District Council Building Control mix self-build with all new builds, which makes figures for the sector hard to deduce.
Devolved since 1999, the Welsh Assembly Government is working on a new National Development Framework (Edition 10) that will define its planning strategy for the next 20 years.
NaCSBA has been stating the case for including Custom and Self-build with the new planning policy team, resulting in the draft Planning Policy for Wales including a reference that planning authorities must consider opportunities for self-build and custom build options to contribute to the delivery of the proposed housing.
The Welsh Assembly has the ability to implement the Right to Build legislation, but has chosen not to do so, although it maintains that it is supportive of new housing models, such as Housing Association-led community co-operative models.
Visit the Wales Co-operative Centre for more details about these schemes.
In 2020, Welsh Government launched Self Build Wales, a national scheme designed to support more people to build a home of their own. The scheme provides a route to finance and serviced plots, which it refers to as “oven-ready”.
NaCSBA supports the scheme entirely, but as with other national schemes, it has been slow to gain traction, not least due to the pandemic and economic climate that has been in place since then.
Supported by the Development Bank of Wales, the plan was for the scheme to offer a host of plots with pre-agreed designs on them, with the possibility of a loan available to the value of 75% towards the cost of the plot and 100% the cost of the build.
Due to Covid, the supply of plots was interrupted, but the ambition remains to deliver a scheme to help more people in Wales realise their self build dreams.
Find out more about Self Build Wales