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Self build on rise despite mixed support from councils

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Almost 40% of England’s planning authorities have taken action to help residents who want to build their own home, a survey has found.

The research by the National Custom & Self Build Association examined publicly available information from all 337 of England’s planning authorities, including the national parks authorities. It found 39% had supported self builders, equivalent to 130 authorities.

A map of councils most active in this field showed they were concentrated in the very north of the country, south-west, West Midlands and parts of East Anglia. London showed the least enthusiasm.

The survey found that 69 authorities had a register to measure local demand for self building and 77 had used their local plans to promote this approach. Cherwell DC in Oxfordshire has one of the largest self build programmes in the country and has invested £16m in a self build programme which has so far delivered 250 homes.

According to the association, the level of self build activity has trebled since 2012.

Mario Wolf, who led the research, said: “This work suggests that many councils are keen to support the government’s ambition of doubling the level of private homebuilding in the UK to help address the growing need for more housing.

“If realised, it will help diversify our homebuilding industry, create local jobs and support smaller builders and thousands of suppliers.”

The association is to work with the Department for Communities & Local Government and the financial sector to explore new financial products that could support the sector’s growth.

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