The ‘Right to Build’

28th February 2019

In 2016, new legislation came into force which meant that councils now have a duty to grant planning permission to appropriate serviced plots as part of the ‘Right to Build’ entitlement. This was part of the government’s solution to tackling housing shortages across the country – the objective was to double the value of the custom and self build market by 41% by 2020. But has the scheme been a success?

Under the Right to Build, all councils in England must maintain a register of individuals and groups who want to build their own homes. This potentially game-changing scheme means that councils have a duty to grant planning permission for sufficient serviced plots to meet demand, measured on Right to Build registers, within a three-year period (and on an ongoing basis).

The idea is that this could not only transform the self build sector, but also provide a much-needed opportunity for the continually under-delivering housebuilding market.

So what does this all mean? Essentially, we’re now in a position where we can ask our local authorities to look to make viable plots available to us. This should lead to serviced sites with genuine planning permission coming through to meet the level of demand elected on each council’s register.

If enough of people sign up, it could also boost the general interest for self and custom build among decision-makers, and encourage them to grant planning consent for more custom-built schemes – not just those that are supported through the Right to Build.

So has it been a success? In the year October 2016 to October 2017, 15,174 plots were granted for new buildings and conversions. This is up from 11,850 plots granted the year before — an increase of 28 percent. Moreover, research by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has found that, since 1st April 2016, over 40,000 people have now signed up to Right to Build registers across England. Although, this is positive it falls far short of the number required to meet demand.

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