Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies: a planning vacuum? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Written evidence from National Plot Owners Association (in formation) (ARSS 03)

Inquiry into the abolition of regional spatial strategies

We are part of hundreds of registered land owners who have bought plots (between 0.015 to 0.02 acres) split from a bigger plots (between 1.5 and 3 acres) which currently are not economically active and are located in rural areas near existing villages.

We have the legitimate expectation to build a home once the issues of planning permission are sorted out.

Our interest is that the government considers us as a part of the solution to reactivate the national economy and to meet the housing targets encouraging local governments to allocate the land for residential development.

We are aware that we could contribute to reach the national target of reduction of CO2 emissions applying the concept of Eco-homes planned and implemented in several places in England for instance in Blackpool.

We are aware that the concept of Common Hold introduced by part one of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, which is a new form of land ownership of registered freehold land and has not had application, could facilitate the designing of nucleus of homes in the plots such as those we owned.

Also, we are aware that the scheme promoted by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) that we could follow, is a key contribution from the private sector to any government wishing to reactivate the economy and to provide homes for people who already own a plot of land, like us.

Recently the Conservative Planning "Green Paper" No.14, recognises that: "…One of the best examples of individuals taking responsibility for housing is in self-build. Self-building can mean people literally building their own homes or hiring a contractor to build it for them once they have the land and the planning permission. It also often refers to groups of people coming together to pool their skills and build a number of houses collectively, neighbours literally building their community. Successful projects also can involve unemployed and unskilled people, young and old, who would otherwise struggle to find employment and housing.

Self-built homes rely on being affordable and because they are the ultimate representation of having a stake in a home and a community, they are usually more environmentally friendly and built to higher design and quality standards.12As part of our progressive Conservative vision for housing, self-built homes—like Local Housing Trusts - are a perfect embodiment of individuals and families taking responsibility where, under this Government, the State has sucked power out of communities. Giving more power back to local people and self-builders can increase the creation of successful communities and the revitalisation of existing areas across the country."

Finally, we reiterate the interest to be part of the solution and to build homes starting from the scratch with the support of the government encouraging local governments to take us into account in allocating land for residential development as well as big developer firms, establishing a mortgage scheme which enables plot owners to get loan to build their homes and allowing people to make choices. In this regard we could contribute to reduce the deficit of affordable homes and to generate jobs due to the participation in the cake of construction of small firms or independent engineers, architects and other technicians and builders, who could support us in the construction of our homes.

For instance, before Ashford Borough Council there is a proposal (CHAR20) under consideration for its DPD in which 67 homes could be build, also, Aylesbury Vale District Council has already started the process to establish the Local Development Framework covering the period until 2026 which could be a good beginning considering to allocate rural land for 60 homes in Buckingham town as it will be requested.

The abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategies and the limit of number of houses open more possibilities to plot owners.

August 2010

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Prepared 31 March 2011