July Sees Green Light for Landmark First Self-Build Community

Plans for the nation’s first ever dedicated large-scale self building community were given the green light in July by Housing Minister Grant Shapps.

Mr Shapps announced a wide package for aspiring self builders, offering access to £30 million funding and Government-owned land to help them turn their house-building dreams into a reality.

The move is part of wider efforts to help double the size of the self-build sector – with backing from ‘experts’ including Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.

The Minister named seven sites across the country being set aside specifically for groups of people looking to work together to build their own homes. These sites aim to create hundreds of new self build opportunities across the country and are listed below:

  • Kingsweir and Torpoint, Bristol
  • Spencers Park, Hemel Hempstead
  • Pleasley Colliery, Bolsover
  • Upper Tuesley Milford, Surrey
  • Wilson Road, Hanford, Stoke-on-Trent; and
  • Chase Avenue, Walton Park, Milton Keynes

With Datamonitor predicting that the numbers of mortgages available to self-builders will increase by 141 per cent over coming years, Mr Shapps wrote to major lenders urging them to consider how they can make the most of the business opportunity that a growing self-build sector can offer.

The Government claims that this is just the first step in a self-build surge and the Homes and Communities Agency has been asked to continue identifying sites to be dedicated to group self build projects.

The move follows the Minister’s recent mission to Almere in the Netherlands – Europe’s largest low-cost self-build project. There, he was able to see the difference that can be made when a council gives help to local aspiring self-builders and was evidently inspired into action.

In addition to offering land, Grant Shapps also published details of a new £30 million investment fund to offer people the money they need to lay the foundations for their self-build projects via short term loans – the first time this has been done in the UK.

The money could be used to pay up to 75 per cent of a project’s land and early construction costs, and will be available to organisations planning to build five or more homes at a total cost of up to £3 million.

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