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Tommy Walsh's
Top Tip

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Task Force shares Right to Build policy experiences with Dutch government

Right to Build Task Force Ambassador Richard Bacon MP recently headed to the Netherlands to share England’s experiences of the Right to Build legislation with national and local government at a conference in The Netherlands (pictured).

Accompanied by Task Force Director Mario Wolf, the team had been invited to help the Dutch government as it investigates whether or not to follow our lead by having policy in place to enable any Dutch citizen to sign up to a register to build or design their own home.

It’s great to see our Right to Build Task Force engaging with The Netherlands, as the body that does so much work to make Custom and Self Build opportunities happen across the UK is actually based on a Dutch idea.

And in The Netherlands, this team, the catchily-named Expertteam Eigenbouw, helped double the size of the Self Build sector in three years, so the Task Force was already engaging with a forward thinking country in Self and Custom Build.

In fact, Self Build housing in the Netherlands constitutes about 1 in 5 of all privately owned new homes now being built, compared to just 7% in England, so it’s great that such an experienced country looking to the UK for inspiration.

Inspirational projects

But the conference also offered an opportunity for the Task Force to visit some of the wide-ranging Self Build projects that offer inspiration and examples of best practice.

The Netherlands has such a range of interesting models and routes to creating your own home, such as the Amsterdam scheme of Custom Build homes, show. They also have an entire neighbourhood in Almere, that’s dedicated to Self-Build, with a range of more adventurous and more traditional zones, as well as numerous other developments across the country.

But of particular interest for the Task Force was the chance to visit some innovative and affordable housing models, including a high-density serviced-plots site in the city, a regeneration project that includes Custom and Self Build plots in Delft, and an innovative self-refurbishment model of Custom Build in Amsterdam.

The concept of self-refurbishment as a route to home ownership is of particular interest to the Right to Build Task Force, as it could inform its work with English local authorities that have existing housing stock to regenerate.

This could see Custom and Self-Build as a viable route to turning old schools or offices into refurbished new homes by have-a-go self builders, bringing unused buildings back into use and creating additional affordable homes. After all, it’s all about creating new homes.

Credit: Wiebe Kiestra

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