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Richard Bacon's Review of Custom and Self Build published

21 August 2021

The Right to Build Task Force congratulates Richard Bacon MP on the publication of his Review of Custom and Self Build, which will support the scaling up of the sector.

As website visitors will be aware, since 2017 the Task Force has been working with local authorities and stakeholders to enable more, and better, practice around the delivery of this important housing opportunity. The review will be a watershed moment for the sector, and we look forward to the official response to the recommendations Richard Bacon sets out for scaling up custom and self build. 

In brief, his six recommendations are:

  1. A greater role for Homes England, including a dedicated team for custom and self build, 
  2. Raise awareness and show by ‘doing’, 
  3. Support community, diversity and levelling up, 
  4. Promote greener homes and increased use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC),
  5. Align custom and self build changes with planning reforms, and
  6. Iron out tax issues around the model.

The review reflects government’s ambition for the sector, reflected in the Custom and Self Build Action Plan, which includes a review of the Right to Build legislation, One Public Estate’s Custom and Self Build Land Release Fund for local authority land, the consumer-facing Help to Build and further funding for the Right to Build Task Force. 

The review is a detailed 114-page document that includes an in-depth economic analysis of the sector, conducted by Chamberlain Walker, which identifies custom and self build as a ‘missing market’ in the UK, and one that has potential diversify housing while providing valuable additional homes. 

Points of note:

  • The Task Force welcomes the recommendation for a more robust role for Homes England with a dedicated team, supported by improvements to the legislation. Together these create a clear link between an improved statutory framework for CSB and wider practice. This will ensure that custom and self build plots are included in the majority of Homes England developments, providing a new route to development land.
  • Balancing the duties of local authorities to meet housing need by including custom and self build as part of their housing strategies will help diversify national housing supply. This will give more people access to an owner-commissioned home, including via community led housing. Such diversity ties in well with many wider local plan ambitions around greener building, placemaking, sustainability and communities.
  • We welcome the idea for linking affordable homes with custom and self build. Custom and self build goes beyond the popular view of exclusive homes and are relevant across a range of types and tenures. From our work with local authorities across the country we know opportunities are there for at-scale and modest affordable self build, and councils and communities can see the benefits of enabling this form of housing.

Mary Elkington, Acting Head of the Right to Build Task Force, said: “Richard Bacon has clearly grasped the issues for custom and self in connection to planning and the provision of land, and his recommendations set out a plan that will support local authorities to engage with more small-scale sites. This is crucial, as a combination of lack of resources for council planning teams and a system weighted towards the needs of volume house builders means that it is difficult to secure real alternatives to the commercial mass market model of housing supply.”

Bacon Review - Local Authority Briefnig

The Right to Build Task Force is conducting an online local authority briefing on the Bacon Review on the 14 September 2021.

Tickets are £30 (+VAT) or free for gov.uk emails – contact taskforce@righttobuild.org.uk for a code. 

The Task Force is also hosting a series of master classes over the autumn, with details on its website. Its detailed planning guidance for local authorities is also available for free online.