Self-build may help redevelop Eustace CrescentBy Laura Herbert
July 12, 2012
Communities could have the chance to build their own homes in Wokingham as council bosses are planning to use self build to regenerate a housing estate.
Wokingham Borough Council hosted a self build conference organised by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) at its offices in Shute End last Thursday.
Councillor David Lee, leader of the council, said planners are looking at using self builds to redevelop Eustace Crescent – dubbed ‘Useless Crescent’ by locals.
He said: “I think the conference was very well received. The planners and officers haven’t really considered self builds in the past.Council looks at Kevin McCloud's self-build for Eustace Crescent
“There were some good examples of what is happening in Holland where the council was providing services on sites and selling sites off, so there’s the option to do that.
“I think it will cause a lot of people to think.”
He added plans for Eustace Crescent are currently in the design stage.
The NaSBA aims to promote self builds and the idea has been championed by Grand Designs presenter and developer Kevin McCloud.
Ted Stevens, chairman of NaSBA, said: “Some people have said self build is about grand designs and most of the buildings featured are lavish million pound retirement homes.
“I think the average spend is about £100,000 to £150,000 on the building costs.”
He added: “I’m convinced self build is going to grow. It is very right for the moment as everyone is talking about the Big Society.
“It gives people the chance to make it more affordable.
“It gives you an amazing sense of complete satisfaction and achievement. It nearly kills you doing it, but when you do it, it is a huge buzz.”
In a video message Kevin McCloud said: “We build some of the poorest homes in Europe. That’s not something to celebrate.
“But there is another way. What if we became a nation of self builders?
“What if each household in the UK had the option to build their own place, with the support from agencies and Government within flexible and resilient design codes?
“We’d see more customised homes, to higher space standards and to a better quality.
“We’d see people sharing skills and saving money. We’d see neighbours working on community self build schemes and local construction economies thriving. And we’d certainly see more energy efficient buildings and a wider embracing of green technologies.”