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Council seeks permission for first custom-build housing pilot

Council leaders and the housing minister attended a National Custom and Self Build Association summit at Downing Street yesterday (9 December) to learn more about how they can support communities wanting to build their own homes.

The meeting was held just before the minister announced that a new development of 122 homes has been selected as a national pilot for largescale custom-build in Basingstoke, of which 44 plots will be allocated for affordable housing.

The HCA bought the custom-build site at Park Prewett from the Highways Agency last year.  The team is now working with Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council and developer ZeroC to get planning permission for the site, with construction expected to start next year subject to this consent.

ZeroC has pledged to provide homes ranging from self-build to custom fit-out. Each of the homes can be customised to buyers’ specifications, with various levels of custom build on offer.

As well as affordable homes, the site will also include a few entirely self-build plots.

The minister, Brandon Lewis, said: “We want to see custom and self-build grow significant and believe it can play a role as part of a wider package of measures to help deliver the homes people want.

“The Park Prewett pilot is a fantastic example of our commitment to double the number of custom build and self-build homes by 2020 – so anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so.”

Colin Molton, executive director of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) in the south and south west, said custom-build offers a “more accessible route” onto the housing ladder. According to him, giving residents the option to build themselves can reduce ownership costs.

The pilot site is just another measure in the government’s extensive housing reform, which has already given housing associations the Right to Buy, set a 400,000 target for housebuilding and promised to release unused land for starter homes.

Subject to a consultation, Whitehall will also dilute the definition of affordable housing and open up the green belt for “small-scale developments” – whose definition is arbitrary.


Cllr Dan Sames   25/01/2016 at 15:14

This proposal is not really the first pilot of a custom build development. Cherwell District Council are pioneering the advancement of Custom and Self Build with the development of over 1700 homes at Graven Hill in Bicester.

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