Attualmente si sta visualizzando la versione Italy del sito.
Volete passare al vostro sito locale?

Need to know There’s plenty of space for self-builders

How often have you been told Britain is full and that we are concreting over the countryside whenever anyone mentions anything about putting up new homes? I’m fairly sure advocates of the former view are looking out of a window in Islington, and the latter believe the AA road atlas is drawn to scale. As an ex-member of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, and having flown above a good deal of the UK in my time, it’s pretty obvious to me that most of it isn’t concreted over. Granted, the areas that are developed tend to be chock full, but everywhere else is virtually empty. Last year, looking out of the aircraft window as we approached Venice airport, I was struck by how residential dwellings in Italy seemed to be liberally sprinkled over the landscape – rather than squashed together in tight settlements. It looked to me like the residents there had room to breathe while still forming identifiable communities.

The BBC recently ran an article by Mark Easton entitled The Great Myth of Urban Britain. The broadcaster seems obsessed with interviewing people who object to development of green belt, when what they actually mean is green field regions. There is a huge difference between the two: green belt areas are legally defined spaces around cities – which are reasonably protected – while green field land refers to large zones that haven’t been developed before. The core of Easton’s report was the findings of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment last run in 2012. Using satellite technology, they calculated how much of Britain is really developed. The results were surprising. Continuous urban fabric – where roads, pavements and buildings merge into one – runs at about 98% in the City of London. However, across the UK as a whole it’s a paltry 0.1%. As to how much of the nation is urbanised, the figure for England is 8.8%, followed by Wales at 4.2%, Northern Ireland 3.15% and just 2.1% of Scotland. Of that development, just 1.4% of total land mass is covered in buildings – less than is revealed when the tide goes out. Britain is not full, and it is certainly nowhere near being concreted over, so why the fuss?

It probably has to do with the immediacy of development in our local environment and the sheer scale of what’s happening. Forty years ago, we as a nation decided we didn’t like people building homes anywhere near where we were already living. Objecting to construction became a national pastime. The resultant housing shortage has led to soaring prices and a rapid increase of huge estates, which has simply exacerbated the problem because the change locally is overwhelming. Given that well over 90% of Britain is undeveloped, there is plenty of room for appropiate expansion through modest custom and self-build projects on a local basis. Good individual design, incremental development using local trades and keeping communities viable is the way to go. Custom and selfbuild can go such a long way to helping resolve the housing crisis.

Sbloccate questo articolo e molto altro con
Si può godere di:
Godetevi questa edizione per intero
Accesso immediato a oltre 600 titoli
Migliaia di numeri arretrati
Nessun contratto o impegno
Prova per €1.09
30 giorni di accesso, poi solo €11,99 / mese. Disdetta in qualsiasi momento. Solo per i nuovi abbonati.

Per saperne di più
Pocketmags Plus
Pocketmags Plus

Questo articolo è...

View Issues
Build It
March 2018

Altri articoli in questo numero

Build It
As this month’s mag hits the shelves, we’ll be just
Unconventional solution
This bespoke four-bedroom family home located in Northumberland
This stunning waterside new build is the work of Platform
Homeowners prefer small builders
Householders are twice as likely to be pleased with
Brits hit by unexpected fees on moving day
The cost of changing houses is 60% higher than homeowners’
Planning application fees set to rise in England
As of 17th January, the cost of submitting a planning
Product news
Great shopping ideas for your custom home project
Interiors notebook
It’s never too early to start looking for the finishing touches for your self-build
Your views:
Got a funny story, a gripe or some superb self-build advice? Write to us at or the address below for your chance to win a prize
10 ways a visit to Build It Live can help make your dream home happen
The year’s most inspiring self-build and renovation shows kick off in February with two information-packed exhibitions, in the South East and North West. Build It editor Chris Bates highlights 10 reasons you can’t afford to miss out
Self-build mortgages
Looking for funding for your self-build project? Each month we round up the best deals from leading lenders – and update you on what you need to know about securing the right finance
Two plots with one planning permission
George Hampson has found an ideal site that comes with permission to build his dream home – but an adjacent property is tied into the consent. Mike Dade takes a closer look at this complicated planning situation
It’s FREE to subscribe to PlotSearch – the UK’s premier
Next month…
Rob and Beatrice have created a vernacularinspired
Focus on:
We talk to Older Women’s CoHousing (OWCH) member Maria Brenton about the group’s journey to custom-build a dream home for their community. The result, New Ground in Barnet, won Best Group Self-Build Project at the Build It Awards 2017
No surprises
With busy lives and full-time jobs, Andrew and Nicola Orr opted for a turnkey package for the delivery of their new-build farmhouse in Kinross-shire. The stress-free project has given them an enviable rural home
Hands on approach
Dan and Miriam Nethercott have modernised their 19th-century home with a new extension and by reconfiguring the traditional layout
Eco excellence
A sustainable design and build resulted in a high-performing, award-winning Passivhaus home for Paul and Belinda Wilson
Living the good life
Seeking a change of lifestyle, Jon and Angela Thompson traded in their house in the London suburbs for a dramatic renovation and extension project in rural Kent
Road to success
John and Donna Scarff enjoyed virtually every moment of their new-build bungalow project, tailoring the design to suit their requirements exactly – from a basement gym to a whole-house music system
Emily Smith takes a closer look at recent self-build projects to see what you could get for your money
Design details: garden lighting
Good illumination of your home’s exterior spaces can add appeal to your scheme. Sofia Delgado explores why thorough planning is key to achieving a stunning look
Emyr Davis, design director at Welsh Oak Frame, takes a closer look at how to get the details right
10 reasons ICF makes sense for self-builders
Chris Bates reveals how insulating concrete formwork can offer a straightforward route to self-building an energy-efficient, design-led bespoke home
Matt Higgs reveals what you need to know to specify fenestration that complies with the latest regulations and meets your expectations
Beginner’s guide to garage conversions
Transforming a redundant garage into living accommodation could be the cheapest and easiest route to adding valuable extra space to your home. Chris Bates looks at how to make a success of your project
Can gas central heating be eco-friendly?
With money-back incentives for renewable energy, Nigel
Subscribe to Build It today!
Special subscription offer: 12 issues delivered to
Thomas Hagen, technical manager at glazing specialist Internorm, discusses the benefits of having blinds encapsulated within windows
Essential guide to bathroom design
Whatever style you’re looking to achieve, Rebecca Foster summarises the key considerations when planning this zone of the house
Do I need an architect?
Who’s the right person to design your new home? Mike Hardwick helps you choose the best route for your project
Getting power on site
Most of us rely heavily on electricity for day-to-day living, so ensuring your new home has a mains connection is vital. Tim Doherty explains the process
House design in a conservation area
Getting permission to build in a protected area can often seem more difficult and costly compared to a location without special controls. Architect Julian Owen discusses how to boost your chances of planning success
The benefits of offsite manufacture
Find out how using structural timber systems can give you the assurance of more control over quality, productivity and predictability on your self-build project
If you want certainty on whether your proposed scheme – or a past project – is sanctioned under the planning rules, then an LDC could be the best option. Mike Dade reveals what’s involved
Designing a sunroom extension
This kind of glazed addition will bring more space, warmth and daylight into your home. Architect Opinder Liddar discusses how to get the best results for your family
Essential advice on your problems with building, budgeting, DIY & planning from the most experienced names in the self-build industry
INSULATING a period home
Heritage properties don’t always offer the warmest living environment – but with the right approach, they can be made cosy and efficient without detracting from their character, says Alan Tierney