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News

UK-Swedish collaboration to spearhead Cambridge K1 scheme

Construction on innovative 38-home custom build cohousing project set to start by the end of the year

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Government document sums up state of the self/custom build sector

Briefing paper summarises initiatives launched to date aimed at helping people build homes for themselves

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Sheffield City Council unveils numerous self/custom build plots

Right to Build vanguard council brings nine sites to market allowing up to 80 homes

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Custom build homes designated for East Midlands development

Outline planning permission secured for 60-home scheme in South Derbyshire

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Right to Build extended in Cambridgeshire

Councillors choose to continue Government scheme matching self builders with shovel-ready sites

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Case Studies

Merlin Haven

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Timber Frame Home, Ventnor

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Aldcliffe Yard, Lancaster

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Walthamstow Social Rent Scheme

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Prefabricated Passivhaus bungalow

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Cookham Dean, Berkshire

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Harvest House

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Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

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Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

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Forevergreen House

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Housing People Building Communities

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Sülzer Freunde, Cologne

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Berlin - 'Building Groups'

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Manor Farm, Kirton

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Straw-baling, Perthshire

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Low-cost Irish House

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Community Eco-homes, Devon

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Lancaster Cohousing

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Cropthorne

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Findhorn

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Almere, Holland

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Top tips

Charlie Luxton's
Top Tip

Charlie Luxton's  Top Tip Read more

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Finding Land

Finding a plot

This can be very easy if you or your family already own a suitable piece of land, or it may take years of effort if you have geographical or budgetary constraints.

WHERE SHOULD I START?

There's no exact starting point. However, the Self Build Portal's 'NEED-A-PLOT' tool is a good place to begin. By placing your noticeboard on the interactive 'Need-a-Plot' map, detailing what kind of plot you are looking for, this will enable thousands of people to see what kind of plot you need and where you need it.

You could also search our SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY which lists several plot-finding services.

Some other methods for plot hunting include networking (ask all your friends on Facebook to look out for one for you, for example); contacting estate agents and landowners, checking out auction houses, hiring agents to search for you, advertising in the local press, in pubs and shops, and with mobile workers such as taxi drivers, mobile gardeners and hairdressers.

WHAT ELSE COULD I DO?

There are a number specialist 'plot finding' websites that you could investigate. Collectively, they list thousands of self build plots in the UK and offer a powerful way of searching and contacting listed vendors. They are:

Additionally, there are other online sources that sometimes list self build plots, including PrimeLocation, RightmoveZoopla and Movehut.

Plus, there's The Land Bank Partnership; a useful site which specialises in the sale of land with a planning consent or the potential for residential development in the West/South West of England. 

You can also search an area for an untended garden or neglected building etc and then approach the owners. If you have a defined search area buy yourself a high resolution Ordnance Survey map as this can sometimes help you identify quirky potential infill sites that are not visible from the main roads. Google Earth can sometimes be useful for this too.

Other site finding techniques include:

  • Offering a finder‘s fee to planning agents and architects.
  • Checking at the local planning office for permissions granted but not started.
  • Joining (or setting up) a local self build club or group where members share leads and help each other to hunt.

For a group build, you can also approach a parish council and ask them to suggest a suitable site. If your plans include affordable homes for local people in housing need, they should support your efforts. Or look through the list of public land for sale by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The GLA also has a database of land for sale.

If you'd like to join a local self build group, HousePlanner has a list.

Finally, you could consider finding land via an AUCTION.

A WORD OF WARNING...

Don’t get conned into buying land by a property scam company. These organisations often advertise plots of land that will never realistically get planning permission (for example, in areas that are protected by the Green Belt etc). If someone is selling a wonderful plot of land at an unbelievable price there’s got to be something wrong. And if you buy a site like this – usually still costing tens of thousands of pounds – you’re very unlikely to ever recover your money. Be warned.

PropertySCAM lists many of the ongoing land scams where people are being conned.

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