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‘Build your own homes’ - Norfolk MP calls for self-build revolution to fix ‘broken’ housing system

PUBLISHED: 09:05 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:05 29 June 2017

An  artist's impression of a custom-build development in Heartlands in Cornwall. South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon wants to see similar developments in Norfolk. Pic: igloo.

An artist's impression of a custom-build development in Heartlands in Cornwall. South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon wants to see similar developments in Norfolk. Pic: igloo.

igloo

A Norfolk MP will today call for a revolution in people building their own homes - in order to fix a housing system which he says is broken.

Richard Bacon, South Norfolk MP. Picture: Rebecca Murphy Richard Bacon, South Norfolk MP. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Plots of land should be sold to groups or individuals on which they can self-build or custom-build their own homes, says South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon.

Mr Bacon said those plots could be sold for, say, £55,000 and people given a three-year limit in which to get their home built.

That could be by building it themselves or getting a small, local builder to construct it to their specifications.

He said: “You can build a house for something between £80,000 and £160,000. It happens all the time.

“If we were building as many units of self-build and custom house building as they are in the Netherlands now, we would be creating 60,000 extra units a year on top of what is currently being delivered, which could make a significant difference.”

He said giving people the chance to decide what their homes should look like and getting communities involved in the process could also remove anti-development sentiment.

He said: “Under the current system, people are often resistent to development, despite the fact it’s heir sons and daughters and grandchildren who need homes.

“That’s because they feel housing is something which is imposed on them, rather than something they help to shape. I’m trying to get to a place where we understand the difference between building boxes and building a great place to live.

“What has happened in our planning system is that it’s become all about the numbers. And people do not like being told x number of homes are going to be built where they live.

“We must have better, smarter, beautiful ​development that offers a wide range of real choices to consumers and is actively welcomed by existing communities, including the grandparents and parents who so often oppose development with arms folded saying, ‘We don’t want any houses in our area’.”

He has convened a conference called How Should Norfolk Grow? at the John Innes Centre today, where experts from all over the country will be speaking.

He has invited councillors and officers from Norfolk’s councils, planning consultants, architects, designers and construction companies to the conference.

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