Right to Build registers across England have attracted interest from over 40,000 people since the beginning of April 2016, with many hoping to secure a plot to build their own bespoke property, but it is claimed that opportunities are not being adequately publicised.
Over 10,000 new registrations have been added, many via the National Custom and Self Build Association’s Right to Build Portal. However, the NaCSBA still believe that these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the actual demand is concealed, pointing to a lack of knowledge about the registers’ existence. It is also argued that many authorities are actively making it more difficult for people to register their interest.
Indeed, research by the NaCSBA shows that one in four local authorities place restrictions on people under their jurisdiction signing up to the registers, with some forced to undergo local connection tests and pay subscription and joining fees.
Local connection tests are only applicable where there is a recognised local issue, while charges must range from one of payments of between £50 to £350, as well as yearly charges of £150.
The NaCSBA believes that many of these cases could be challenged, due to what they see as unfairly strong actions being taken by local authorities to deny people the opportunity to build better quality and better value homes. They also argue that this is creating what is effectively a postcode lottery, as people’s chances of being successful depend on how accessible to local authority are willing to make their register.
While they understand that many local councils are managing their registers as part of a wider suite of evidence for demand for custom and self-build, the NaCSBA continue to argue that the the picture remains uneven, and plans to raise its concerns at government level.
‘While it’s great news that the numbers who want to self-build has increased, NaCSBA has deep concerns that, rather than meet the demand for custom and self-build homes through the granting of planning permissions to match demand, some local authorities are instead seeking to minimise the number of registrations,’ said Michael Holmes, chairman of the NaCSBA.
‘This is a direct challenge, not only to members of all parties in parliament who supported the legislation, but also to the 60% of the public who are interested in commissioning or building their own home. Through their actions these local authorities are reducing the number of homes that are built as well as depriving individual and families of the best and most cost-effective route to a well-designed home of real quality and value,’ he added.