self build recognised by HMG?

james armstrong james36army at
Mon Dec 1 17:43:42 GMT 2008

Copy of self explanatory letter on self evident benefits of self build, sent to RTPI magazine "Planning"

1 December 2008
The Editor,

Dear Sir,

Is  Self build coming of age?

"We (DCLG) will be working ….to build on existing good practice and explore innovative ideas. In this context the Government recognises  the need to promote a diversity  and range of housing suppliers ,  including self builders where appropriate "

The Self  build sector was completly  omitted from the Barker Review of Housing Supply in the 2003 and 2004 reports.  "It was overlooked."  Kate  Barker explained to the writer.

In order that self build would not be overlooked in the OFT Homebuilding Survey we extolled the potential in our submission.   When the OFT recommendations were published in September this year, Whitehall 'discovered' that self build is the largest sector in supply in U.K., accounting for an estimated 16,000 units. 

We also made sure that self build was considered in the eco towns consultation process.

With the DCLG's response to the OFT report due to be published in late December we took the opportunity to send them in good time details of the St Minver self build project and this month received the above reply.

St Minver is a parish in North Cornwall  where  DCLG may well find  some innovative ideas among the following -
A farmer donatated land on the edge of the village at a tenth of the market value.
North Cornwall Council  gave planning permission to the site which was outside the village envelope.
The community formed a self build team, registered as a charity and set up a Community Land Trust. 
NCC advanced a start up loan of £5,000.
NCC advanced an interest free loan of £50,000 recognising the advantage of getting low cost houses built. 
A project manager and an architect were employed by the Charity,
The houses were not built individually but by a team of self builders moving from house to house.
The loans wee repaid within the year.
Twelve two and three bed houses with garages were built in 14 months at a cost of £78,000 nd £84,000.

We estimate that with the  co-operation of architects planners and  with Government support  the  St Minver model could be improved and self build teams could make a substantial contribution to supply.

James Armstrong, 
speaking for a network of experienced and would be self builders- both individuals and teams.  

22 Harveys Terrace, Dorchester.   DT1 1LE           tel 01305 265510


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