Want a house..? Then design your own, says Norfolk MP
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Up to 40,000 extra homes could be made available every year if more land was made available for people to build their own properties, a review on housing has found.
Richard Bacon, the Conservative MP for South Norfolk and a longstanding champion of self-build and custom-build housing, was tasked by prime minister Boris Johnson to "develop a plan for a major scaling up of so-called self-commissioned homes", properties ordered by a customer who will then live in it once it is built.
Mr Bacon found there is a "missing market" in the UK, with opportunities to expand.
"There is, of course, a proper concern that we should protect our beautiful countryside - but opposition to new housing is chiefly a cri de coeur against the second-rate, the environmentally damaging and the bland," he said.
"Instead of new housing that most people want, we have a soulless monoculture. One witness in my review commented that 'the planning system rewards mediocrity' - and people are entirely right to object to mediocrity.
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"Yet the consequences are that for decades we have not built enough houses - and this is tearing deep fissures into the fabric of our society.
"There is a solution. It involves creating the conditions in which customers are treated as if they matter the most, rather than - for the most part - scarcely mattering at all. And this is what happens when people themselves commission the houses they would like to see."
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Mr Bacon's review recommends that a custom and self-build delivery unit should be established within Homes England to make available more land for these homes.
It estimated reforms could mean between 30,000 and 40,000 and self-build homes a year.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: "As we build back better we want to help more people build their own home, making it an option for thousands who've not considered it or ruled it out before.
"This will help get more people on to the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people's needs whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too."