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Cheaper, greener and more innovative homes

Gill Black

Gill Black

Gill Black, Green activist, attended the Custom Build event in the Town Hall on 22nd November 2014.

Sheffield City Council are one of 11 Local Authorities to have been awarded “Vanguard” status for the Government’s Right to Build pilot scheme to test various approaches to bringing forward custom build projects.

Sheffield City Council is developing a register of prospective custom and self-builders in the area and has identified potential sites for those on the register. The register can be found here.

Those looking to build will still need to go through the normal planning application process.

The UK lag behind other countries in self building. In Austria 80% of homes are self build, Germany France and Italy around 60% but UK only 8-10%.

Sheffield City Council, will receive just under £100,000 to deliver as many as 800 self-build sites, and look to support individuals and groups planning their own custom builds, including co-housing schemes. The scheme will support sustainable development and use brown field sites wherever possible.

There are already a small number of co-housing schemes in Sheffield, such as Thundercliffe Grange, The Open House Project and a new scheme coming through at Shirle Hill. Five Rivers Cohousing Group are currently looking for an appropriate site.

Custom build housing typically involves individuals or groups of individuals commissioning the construction of a new home or homes from a builder, contractor or package company or, in a small number of cases, physically building a house for themselves.

In addition the Government have launched a new £30 million investment fund to help kick start the growth of the custom build sector and incentivise volume custom build projects across England. This new fund will offer short term loans to community groups, builders and other organisations looking to start self-build projects.

The loan could be used for 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. This fund will be administered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) nationally in the form of a loan payable in stages.

Professor Fionn Stevenson from Sheffield University spoke at the event and has studied the effectiveness, sustainability and efficiency of co-housing schemes.

Topics: Gill Black, Housing