Grand Designs Live / by Joanna Stabler

Last week, Alastair took part in a panel debate hosted by Kevin McCloud, with Ted Stevens, Julia Thrift and planning minister Nick Boles MP at Grand Designs Live. The event came alongside the government's decision to launch consultation on national 'Right to Build' legislation, and asked the participants to set out policies they think the UK government should be looking to adopt to increase UK citizens ability to buy land and build their own home. Our recommendations included:

1. A legal definition The need for a legal definition of custom build, perhaps defined as 'Housebuilding whereby the house and land are procured independently of each other and by the end user of the home'.

2. A new land-use class 'C5' A recommendation (also put forward by Ted Stevens of the National Self Build Association (NaSBA)) for the creation of a new land use class in the planning system. 'C5. Custom build homes.' This would effectively create a parallel market for land, separating speculative development from those who simply want to build a home as somewhere to live.

3. Open data platforms Government support for open data platforms for land and planning, such as LandWiki.org.uk.

4. Rules-based planning A shift towards pro-active, 'rules based' planning, whereby instead of having to put in planning applications case-by-case, local neighbourhoods could democratically agree a set of predictable design rules with their local authority, which are communicated through a simple 'site passport', as used in the Netherlands.