Developers are dumping identikit “crap” homes on sites across Britain which could be used for a revolution in self-built homes, Kevin McCloud, the Grand Designs presenter has claimed.
McCloud welcomed proposals to be announced by ministers on Tuesday which will force councils to make land available for people to build their own homes to help combat a crisis in affordable new housing.
McCloud said he planned to create 1,000 self-build homes a year through his Hab Housing project. The plots would be used for homes which are cheaper, greener, more spacious and “more beautiful” than the uniform houses churned out by high-volume developers.
“The reason people are NIMBYs is because the housing projects they see are a degradation of their locality,” McCloud said at the Grand Designs Live exhibition in London. “Every single home is the same. We drop these things out the back of a C130 Hercules into place. They are all identical and they are all, pretty well, crap. That's why we object (to new housing developments).”
McCloud has helped draw up a People's Housing Manifesto which encourages people to band together to commission and procure their own properties. A future Government should create a special “Housing Delivery Authority” which would guarantee publicly-owned for new housing to self-builders.
Under the plans to be announced this week, anyone with a local connection - expected to be three years' residency - would have the right to go to their town hall and demand the right to buy a plot of land on which to build a home. Councils would have to meet the demand for land as well as supplying water, energy and other services.
Last year just 10,000 self-built homes were completed in the UK, a figure which Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said lagged far behind Germany.
“Self-build needs to play a big part in the housing mix,” Mr Pickles said. “It is not the preserve of the wealthy. It is standard on the Continent and I want the UK to catch up.”
The Government is looking to extend the Right To Buy scheme for tenants to a Right To Build. Ministers believe 50,000 people a year will demand land to self-build from local authorities.
Mr Pickles said: “Right To Build will provide solid foundations for grand design dreams, unlocking local council land as a right not a request. Self-build is not just the stuff of TV shows, it is a possibility for people of all budgets.”
The coalition has a target of 230,000 new built homes a year but the main housebuilders are managing to construct only about 130,000 properties. Self-build account for 60 per cent of new properties in Germany, France and Italy.