It's been months in the making but the NASBA selfbuild action plan is now a reality and its here. It seems to be enjoying the support of housing minister Grant Shapps and there is every hope that at least some of the proposals will see the light of day.
I was responsible for the Regulation and Red Tape bits (broadly pages 14 - 17) but I couldn't have done it without the input from the committee members who sat through four meetings at Department for Communities and Local Government in London. So my own vote of thanks to:
David Dewart of Swindon BC Planning Dept
Julian Owen, Architect and founder of ASBA
Roy Speer of Speer Dade Planning Consultants
Sally Tagg of Foxley Tagg Planning Consultants
Doug Livingstone of HCA
and also to Mario Wolf, Paul Wren and Alex Lessware of the DCLG team. There were many others but the ones I have listed sat through every minute of every meeting and deserve medals if nothing else. And of course, a big hand to Ted Stevens, the founder of Nasba, without whom none of this would have happened.
One thing we were all agreed on is that we would like to see more selfbuild in the UK. "Whatever it is they do in Germany (last year 92,000 individual selfbuilds, as opposed to around 15,000 in the UK), we would like some of that pixie dust to rub off on us. It seems that the differences are as much cultural as legalistic and we hope that by gently prodding our local authority planning departments, we could open the door to far more land being made available for selfbuild. Our first goal is to get a mention of selfbuild in the forthcoming National Planning Policy Framework consultation document which is due out any day. This is an amalgamation of all the previous PPS and PPG documents that have made up national policy before, none of which has ever mentioned selfbuild at all.