Boles calls for volunteer councils to participate in custom build housing pilot scheme

Out-Law News | 03 Jul 2014 | 4:18 pm | 1 min. read

Planning minister Nick Boles has called for volunteer councils to take part in a pilot of the government's Right to Build scheme, under which councils will be required to release serviced plots to aspiring custom builders registering an interest in their area.

On 30 June, the government launched a prospectus (12-page / 68 KB PDF) inviting councils to express their interest in becoming 'Right to Build vanguards', to test different approaches to the scheme before a consultation on extending it nationwide.

According to the prospectus, the scheme will "give people with a serious interest in building their own home a right to a plot from their local authority".

The scheme will require authorities to "open and promote a register of prospective custom builders" in order to gauge local demand for custom building, the prospectus said. The government is yet to decide on the eligibility requirements for registering an interest to custom build, but is considering opening eligibility to "those who are resident in the local authority area and potentially also those with a direct family connection to the area", the prospectus said.

In response to registrations of interest, authorities will have to offer "a sufficient number of serviced plots" of land, from their own landholdings or belonging to other landowners , for sale "at market value" within "a reasonable period of time", the prospectus said.

The scheme forms part of the government's wider proposals to boost the custom build sector and the announcement follows the launch last week of a prospectus (24-page / 179 KB PDF)  inviting bids for a share of £150 million in loans towards the release of plots of land for custom build housing in England.

"I believe that government should help anyone who wants to build their own home to find a plot of land to build on", said Boles in a statement. "Becoming a Right to Build vanguard offers councils a way to help local people get a place to live which is designed and built locally."

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest in taking part in the pilot scheme is 31 July.

Successful applicants will be required to open and publicise registers by 31 October and to begin identifying and securing plots by 31 January 2015.