Self-Build Housing - Solution to the UK Housing Crisis or Grand Design Dream?

The Government recently commissioned an independent review into self-build housing. The Bacon Review, published on 21 August 2021, sets out a range of recommendations for how the delivery of self-build housing can be improved.

Among the recommendations contained in the review are a "small sites programme" which would encourage local authorities and housing associations to sell off empty plots which are too small for development by a major builder to families who want to build a single house.

It also calls for a "plot to rent scheme", reducing the capital required to buy a piece of land by allowing purchasers to rent part of the value of the plot and increase their equity stake over time.

The Government's planning reforms, which are likely to return to the House of Commons in the coming months, should also promote self-build by relaxing the planning requirements to enable homes to be built on a small scale on the edge of an existing town or settlement.

From a local perspective, we know there is strong demand for self-build housing, with this demand often coming from local people and families looking for a solution to the desire to remain within the rural communities they are part of. Often, local planning policies tend to focus new development into larger existing settlements, with a mixed approach to housing outside of the main towns and villages. There is also the competition for land, with opportunities so limited, the development industry is able and willing to pay significant sums of money for land and development opportunities, which often makes securing land for these projects much more challenging.

In April 2021, the Government announced the Help to Build scheme, which has been designed to help more people build their own homes, and is made up of a number of elements including:
• A new 'Help to Build' low deposit mortgage scheme supported by over £150 million in funding.
• Funding for local authorities to develop public land for custom and self-build housing.
• A review into how delivery of custom and self-build housing can be increased and accelerated.
• A law review to enable more people to access plots in their local areas.

The exact details of the Help to Build Scheme are yet to be confirmed, but may be an important catalyst in enabling self-builders to access funding that can be difficult to secure within the traditional mortgage market.

It remains to be seen what further measures the Government will introduce to support the delivery of self-build housing through changes to planning policy, but it is clear that there is growing support for this element of the housing sector, and perhaps, true recognition of the contribution which could be made to addressing the housing crisis in the UK, particularly in the rural communities.

If you need advice on a potential self-build project, or have land which you think might be suitable for self-build housing, please get in touch with us by calling 01228 586805 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kayleigh Lancaster MRTPI
Chartered Town Planner

Planning & Development 

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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

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