Self-build ‘could lead UK to economic recovery’

Self-build ‘could lead UK to economic recovery’ says Jewsons on September 11, 2012: The self-build sector could help to resolve the UK’s housing crisis and support the country on it way to economic recovery, a specialist has said.In an article in the Guardian, deputy editorial director of the Institute of Economic Affairs Dr Richard Wellings suggested that if members of the public were better able to construct their own accommodation, it could “empower people economically” without leaving them dependent on state handouts or huge bank mortgages.

Removing “costly building regulations” and making the planning system more liberal would support the development of additional housing, he continued.

The specialist also claimed private finance options ought to be encouraged to support the industry.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to guarantee the risks” when a scheme is deemed to be poor value for money, he remarked.

Other specialists in the article echoed Dr Wellings’ viewpoints on self-build, with Localis senior policy officer Steven Howell suggesting that communities could engage in “proactive neighbourhood planning” alongside self-build to deliver a “bottom-up push” for the housebuilding sector.

Kenneth Gibb, professor of housing economics at the University of Glasgow, claimed improving access to mortgage finance could support the growth of the construction industry and the UK’s economy.

He recommended that local and national authorities behave in a creative manner, pointing out that there are many innovative ways in which land can be used, while long-term investment schemes could deliver a higher number of residences for “slightly less” than they otherwise would have.

Former housing minister Grant Shapps recently argued that the UK is witnessing a “self-build surge”.

He said the option for a person to construct their own home ought to be open to anyone who wishes to do so and should not be “a niche interest for the select few”.

More Brits wish to develop their own house than ever, the politician claimed, revealing that the government intends to double the size of the sector within the next few years.

Mr Shapps, who is now co-chairman of the Conservative Party, said changes to planning rules will mean councils will be required to consider self-builders within their constituencies.

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