Devon's Teignbridge Council backs self builders

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Media captionTeignbridge Council in Devon is forcing developers to help more people to take on self-build projects

A Devon council has decided to force developers to make land available to people who want to build their own home.

Teignbridge Council has written the policy into its new local plan.

It says that any developer who gets permission for 20 houses or more must make 5% of the land available to self-builders to buy.

The council believes it could result in 400 new self-build homes over the next 20 years.

Jeremy Christophers, Conservative leader of the council, said: "In the South West, it is not easy to come by land for self-building.

"We are are keen to help young working people get on the housing ladder."

A land agent told the council more than 3,000 customers had paid subscriptions to search for residential plots in Teignbridge since 2001, indicating a high demand.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said: "I'm delighted the policy is in there. It is a first. It is genuinely ground-breaking stuff.

"And what it is saying is that there are lots of people who rather than buy a house from one of the big house builders, would just like to be able to get a local builder and maybe a local architect and design their own.

"That is a demand that is broadly speaking unsatisfied currently."

He said he hoped other councils would follow the Teignbridge's policy.

'Real precedent'

"The idea of relying on these huge national house builders like we do is very foreign to many of our European neighbours," he continued.

"Most of us cherish the idea of building our own home.

"The critical thing is that a self-build house can be 20-25% cheaper than the equivalent because you're not paying the profit margin of the house builder."

Ted Stevens, chairman of the National Self Build Association, said: "Teignbridge has set a real precedent in terms of planning policy and it's likely to be mimicked by other councils around the UK.

"The biggest problem regarding self-building is finding a plot of land for people to build on so this will provide a pipeline of building plots, it's very good news.

"Only 10,000 self-build homes were built in 2013 but 14% of people have researched how to build a home for themselves so there is huge pent-up demand."

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