Response to eco towns consultation

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Wed Jun 18 22:03:29 BST 2008

I got a number of recommendations out on Radio Wessex today (complete list outlined below). I propose to send them off with a plug for the benefits of self build.
comments invited soonest.. 

I would like to send them to the Ecotown Consultation on behalf of what I say is a network of  potential self builders restrained by lack of access to land, naming TLIO, Chapter 7, Future Roots and a 'network of self builders, co-housing and low impact life style groups as the network behind the response.
any objections?

R1 Ten per cent of the sites  for planned houses in eco-towns be set aside for would-be self occupiers/ self builders conforming to  design critieria for vernacular low impact houses.
R2  Support action for a  dedicated planning category for self occupied self build houses conforming to  vernacular designs and given planning preference.
(Barker, recommends (11),'additional routes for developersā€¦developments differ in .. nature.'.)
R3  Support Barker recommendation 26 to "use tax measures to extract windfall gains"
- We say taxes on monopolist landbankers to be paid in land not in cash and the land held by  community land trusts and leased on (not sold off ) for s-o, s-b vernacular houses
R4  Instigate now  a major research project into the  potential of self build with a reference to sb in other European countries .(The research which should have been conducted by the Barker review team.) Areas of research to cover include present  land availability for s-b, present planning practice re s-b, freeing land from plc's existing landbanks (see Barker IR p 81), The detailed build cost via self-build and cost comparisons, market price v self-build cost, devising schemes to encourage developing skills and workforce participation using the incentive of occupying a self build house.  
  ( consult 'Chapter 7' for planning guidance)  
R5 Liaise with CABE , RTPI and TCPA to draw up design and material codes for  s-o s-b vernacular houses tailored to each location.
R6 Liaise with  the Arts Council to develop a programme promoting the artisan  artform -
'building  vernacular houses to local designs meeting diverse needs, using available local materials.'
R7 Devise a model Community Land Trust held site, with  leasing arrangements to self builder /occupiers including equitable arrangements  for subsequent re-sale of s-b houses.        
R8  Plan in detail  provision for local food production located within close proximity to each e-t.
The  Community Farm concept is already gaining wide acceptance  and would be appropriate.
e.g.  local food production in Havana, Cuba is commended, see  film "Power in the Community"    
R9  Rosie Boycott (ex ed. Independent on Sunday )  supports the self-b uild initiative and commends the mayor's initiative in Chicago achieving 2 million square yards of city roof gardens.    
Nick Cowan campaigner for ex soldiers' housing supports self-build as suitable for army people.
R10  Fund a road show , budget Ā£50,000 over three years, touring county fairs, agricultural shows and music festivals canvassing land for CLT self builders and promoting the genre


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