As I write this in sunny Sussex, the property industry is gathering in Cannes for the annual MIPIM knees-up. This year the handshake-heavy event features the somewhat alarming proposition of UK councils on a charm offensive to attract funding in a post-Brexit world. I think that now the weather’s improving, I’m happy focusing on things that are closer to home.
Things in the UK self-build market are not all sweetness and light however, shown by the Government having to intervene to make councils honour commitments on Right to Build in the form of upcoming legislation. It also hoped the recent White Paper would help get Right to Build off the ground. Given the startling statistic – admitted by Sajid Javid – that the UK has had the lowest rate of housebuilding in western Europe for the last three decades, something fundamental has to be done.
It’s unlikely that the Government’s pledges to support the NaCSBA’s self-build Portal, keep self-build free of the Community Infrastructure Levy, and ‘work with lenders’ will be enough. Surely if councils are dragging their feet on Right to Build, the time to introduce that legislation is now.
After those council members have finished living it up in Cannes dreaming about new ‘city quarters’ and rich investors, they need to come back with a renewed vigour, and get real on Right to Build.