Housing Minister Mark Prisk today said he was delighted that the first applications for a slice of a new £30million self-build investment fund have been earmarked for approval.
Speaking at a special self-build workshop for local authority Leaders in London, Mr Prisk said that the first projects would benefit from over £1.1million to start work on up to 20 self-build plots.
Following final checks and approvals, the applications in North East Derbyshire and Peterborough will be the first to receive the funding, which provides short-term finance to help unlock projects where groups of self-build homes are built at the same time.
The Minister, along with self-build industry champion, architecture specialist and presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs Kevin McCloud, hosted the workshop for local authority Leaders in association with the Local Government Association, to discuss how they could support prospective self builders in their area.
A specialist team from Almere in the Netherlands also attended to share their expertise. Almere, near Amsterdam, is the largest low-cost self-build experiment in Europe, which has grown rapidly in recent years.
Earlier this year the former Housing Minister travelled to Almere with a delegation from the UK self-build industry, and hosted an event with Dutch Government officials and business leaders at the British Embassy to boost trade and links between Dutch and British businesses.
Mr Prisk said that there had been a great surge of interest in recent years for self-build, and it was now important that local authorities learnt from abroad and local projects to identify opportunities for self-build development in their plans, and to give people in their area the opportunity to build their own home.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:
Across the country, more people than ever want control over the design and build of their home. But these types of projects have often been held back because of limited land availability, reluctance by lenders to provide finance and red tape. So I’m delighted that the first self-build projects in Derbyshire and Peterborough have been earmarked for Government cash.
This money will be repaid as plots are sold, and I hope it will demonstrate to lenders, investors and the development industry that these types of projects are worth backing. But it’s not just about money, self builders and developers need the support of local authorities to get these projects off the ground. So I’m pleased we have the team from Almere to share their expertise, and I urge local authorities to learn from their example and help more self builders achieve their dreams.
Kevin McCloud said:
I’m delighted to attend this event today with the new Housing Minister and welcome the first approvals for cash from the Government’s £30million investment fund which will help drive activity in the sector and give more people the opportunity to build their own home. But it is not just about cash, we need to see more support from local authorities if we’re serious about making self build a mainstream housing option. And I hope we can draw inspiration from the projects like Almere, and many others across Europe, about what is achievable with strong local leadership and vision.
Notes to editors
Approval for the first custom build homes funding application with a value of £450,000 has been given to a developer in North East Derbyshire on a site at Morton for nine self-build plots. A second application for 11 self-build plots with a loan value of approximately £725,000 for a site in Peterborough has also been approved. Both approvals are subject to final due diligence and contract. Details will be available once final due diligence checks have been finalised and contracts agreed.
A further application for funding has been received for a multi-unit self build development on a site in Derbyshire and the Homes and Communities Agency is in discussion with several other project promoters who are seeking to apply for funding with more applications expected before the end of the year.
Details of the funding Custom Build Homes fund can be found at: www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/ourwork/custom-build (external link).
The £30million fund will be available over the next three years (2012 to 2015). Funding is available to cover the cost of building, land acquisition or other costs associated with a proposed development of five or more custom build homes with planning permission. The funding is available to eligible applicants bringing forward projects in England with the exception of London.
Separate funding arrangements are available for London. Further details fund can be found at: www.london.gov.uk/priorities/housing/homes-and-communities/build-your-own-home (external link).
Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England sets out the Government’s plans to support social mobility and get the housing market - and in particular new house building - moving again, including a Custom Build Homes programme to support and encourage more individuals and communities to build their own homes. The Housing Strategy can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/housingstrategy2011.