Communities are set to be given more opportunities to build houses in their neighbourhood thanks for a new £4 million fund launched on 23 August.
The new grant programme, which was launched by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, gives community-led housing groups the chance to access high quality, affordable homes that will meet the needs of local communities. The cash injection will help community groups meet a range of costs incurred in trying to develop housing, which could include paying for searches, administration costs or legal advice, design work and planning applications.
This community-led and focused approach involves neighbourhood-based groups taking responsibility for local housebuilding and delivers housing which is both locally affordable and remains under the control of the community via land trusts of housing co-operatives.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “Community-led housing is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving their housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities where mainstream housebuilders are unable to deliver.
“The Community Housing Fund has been set up to support housing schemes that are truly community-led and will last for generations to come, helping ensure we build back better.”
The Community Housing Fund Revenue Programme 2021 to 2022 is funded by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and will help community-led housing groups in the latter stages of pre-development.
The Community Led Homes Partnership (CLH) will manage the grant programme, assessing all applications and administering the grants. CLH is a partnership of 4 leading community-led housing organisations:
- Confederation of Co-operative Housing
- National Community Land Trust Network
- UK Cohousing Network
Tom Chance from Community Led Homes added: “Community-led housing groups are rooted in their communities and truly understand local housing needs. There are so many fantastic community-led housing projects planned across the country. This programme will help many of these projects come to fruition.”
Applications will open on 23 August 2021 and will remain open until all funds are allocated or until 31 December 2021, whichever occurs first. The programme will close in March 2022 ‒ all work funded by the grant must be completed by this date.
To apply for the fund, groups will need to complete an eligibility checker on the Community Led Homes website. If eligible, groups will be emailed an online grant application form.
Today’s announcement follows the publication of the Bacon Review which recommended that reigniting the Community Housing Fund will create more opportunities for communities to build.
Karen Curtin, managing director at self and custom build development site, Graven Hill, said: “The Bacon Review has confirmed what we have known for years: self and custom building is the way forward for UK housing. We have always been huge advocates for making these non-traditional routes to home ownership accessible to everyone, no matter their age or background. In our eyes, the Review is a major step forward.
“Compromise has been an accepted part of house buying for too long, and we’ve seen first-hand how self and custom building is a key part of tackling this. Being able to buy – or build – a home that suits personal lifestyle choice is essential to solving the UK’s housing crisis and once the Help to Build scheme is launched, self and custom building could be a possibility for first-time buyers, families, and downsizers alike.
“As self-building becomes more accessible, we encourage developers across the country to consider offering self-build plots as part of each new development. We must move away from the ‘soulless monoculture’ that has been created over the years, embracing housing diversity instead. The desire from homeowners to create their dream home has always been there, they just haven’t been provided with the help or opportunities to do so.
“Our self-build plots have been incredibly popular, generating more interest than traditional options, with purchasers benefitting from Plot Passports and Golden Brick packages that make the process simpler. As the site enters its next phase of development, plans are in place to launch new serviced plots and custom build homes that are eligible for Help to Build. By taking a more innovative approach to house buying, we can make compromise a thing of the past.”
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