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Shapps announces self-build expansion plans

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The government has announced plans to make it easier for more people to build their own homes by reducing regulations and making more land available.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said the government planned to make plots of land available on a ‘build now, pay later’ basis exclusively for self-builders, so that individuals and communities could build their own properties.

Speaking at the Grand Designs Live 2011 show in London, he said he wanted self-build to become a mainstream housing option, not something that was only available to the “privileged few”.

Self-builders already account for one in five new homes built in this country each year but the UK still has one of the lowest proportion of self-build properties in Europe.

Mr Shapps said the government planned to “put its money where its mouth is” and make publicly-owned land available to self-builders.

Under the scheme, which is also available to developers, people would not have to pay for the land until they had completed the property.

He also called for private investors, local authorities and housing associations to make plots available.

Earlier this year the government launched a working group, led by the National Self-Build Association, to advise it on what action needed to be taken to help more people build their own homes.

Mr Shapps said: “Self-builders deliver affordable, greener and more innovatively-designed homes, and make a big contribution to the number of new homes built in this country, yet there is scope to significantly increase the number of self-built homes in the UK - both for individual households and for community-driven projects.

“I want to turn around the fortunes of self-builders by cutting the red tape and bureaucracy they often face and make self-build a reality for many more people.

“These efforts will help bring self-build into the mainstream, and not simply be the preserve of the privileged few - meaning not just Grand Designs, but common designs.”

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