Following its 2019 first visit to Graven Hill, Grand Designs is once more sharing the self build adventures of some of those people building at the UK’s largest self-build and custom-build site, starting on Wednesday 13 April at 9.00pm.

This second series of Channel 4’s Grand Designs: The Streets, Graven Hill sees presenter Kevin McCloud tracking the builds of a cross section of residents as they work to create their very own, tailor-made homes at the site.

This differs in format slightly from the first series, which tracked the first ten pioneer residents who broke ground at Graven Hill. This series aims to capture the spirit of community of those building on the self-build streets, and represents a real opportunity for the custom and self build sector to sell this model to the public.

Graven Hill is the brainchild of Cherwell District Council, which took on a former Ministry of Defence site in Bicester to create a 188-hectare development with a range of opportunities to give people more choice in the type of home they want to live in.

Grand Designs: The Streets showcases the opportunities at Graven Hill, where residents from a range of background create their ideal home, whether that be sleek angular constructions or modern interpretations of classic house types.

Kevin McCloud, presenter of Grand Designs: The Streets, said: “Building your own home takes imagination and endeavour, as well as boundless perseverance. Here at Graven Hill, ambition and creativity has resulted in these wondrous homes enjoyed by all who live in them.”

Karen Curtin, managing director of Graven Hill said: “We are so excited to welcome Kevin and Channel 4 back to Graven Hill. Grand Designs: The Streets is the perfect opportunity to show just how far the development has come since the initial experiment with the ten pioneer plots.

“In the first series, we were lucky enough to celebrate a milestone for the UK house building industry by promoting self-build at scale, and this time we are able to showcase more self-build journeys and the development at 400 occupations.

“We have learned a lot over the last few years, diversified our product range and are proud of the community that has evolved. The show provides a platform for us to show exactly what is possible at Graven Hill and highlight that people from all walks of life can build or create the house of their dreams.”

 

Grand Designs: The Streets (Series 2) is on Wednesdays from 13 April on Channel 4 at 9.00pm, and is available on catch up.

Stellco Homes has announced a new site in Cambridge, with a choice of five detached plots for custom builders in the village of Haslingfield.

Having operated as a housebuilder for over 20 years, Stellco Homes has diversified into custom build, with customers buying a plot at Haslingfield able to design their own home prior to Stellco obtaining planning permission.

Once achieved, Stellco will then go on to build your home for you – to your specification, removing much of the stress from the process.

The five plots come with preliminary designs (one shown above) that make the most of each plot’s size and orientation. Customers then discuss options with Stellco, configuring internal layouts, external features and fixtures and fittings. Initial designs for the homes run from around 1,957 to 2,850 sq ft. To find out more email Stellco or call 07976 210 875.

Angelo Baccarella of Stellco Homes said, “Most people don’t understand the difference between self-build and custom build and are not aware that they can have all the benefits of self-build and more by opting for custom build. I believe we are amongst the few companies offering this service for people who aspire to build their own home but lack the time and skill to do so and find a suitable plot.”

Sign up to Stellco Homes register

This is a NaCSBA Member update

Timber frame home supplier Scandia-Hus has added a brand new show home – the Mulberry – to its site in West Sussex. Self-builders can book a visit to the new house, which officially opens on the 19 March, at its show centre just outside of East Grinstead. 

With over 45 years experience in timber frame homes, Scandia-Hus has become a trusted name in the package manufacture sector, creating energy-efficient properties and sharing their expertise with self-builders. 

A visit to the show centre gives would-be builders the chance to see a Scandia-Hus first hand, as well as the opportunity to discuss their project with the knowledgeable team. Visitors can also book a one-to-one consultation with experienced Project Managers to discuss their own project. 

Visitors can experience and research a range of products, including windows, doors, kitchens, and underfloor heating, and see how the homes feel to walk around as spaces. 

 

With its Scandinavian roots, Scandia-Hus has built a reputation for combining Swedish technology with British architectural style and craftsmanship. 

The timber used is sustainably sourced and is fabricated to create an airtight structure that works well with many renewable energy technologies.

To demonstrate how these work, the eco-friendly Mulberry runs on an air source heat pump, whilst the adjacent property utilises a ground source heat pump, popular solutions that can help reduce carbon emissions.

The new build is one of three properties at the Scandia-Hus show centre, which also includes the contemporary Adelia and the traditionally styled Oakleigh.

We’re following the story of Anne, mother of six boys who is building a home for her family and one for the grandparents on the same site. They used the Right to Build to help them escape the private rental sector, acting as pioneers for the legislation, which even the council was unsure about at the time.

Anne's family

Part 10: The thorny business of government

A quick recap: 
We had secured a meeting with the Bishop to pitch the idea of a community housing scheme on the combined council and church site and developed a prospectus with an idea about what affordability might look like (blog 9).

Local policy support

The long awaited meeting seemed to hold in balance the future of the site. It turned out the Bishop of Edmonton was also a trustee of the church’s Housing Justice group.

The gathering also included the Archdeacon of Hampstead (Archdeacons tend to be the person on the clerical side who make decisions about property matters), our vicar Father Edd and also the property Development Manager, who I’d not met face to face before.

Peter presented our pitch, which had at its core the idea of the church not selling the land (see Blog 8 & Blog 9). This naturally led to a debate about needs and priorities, as helping middle income families is a harder ‘sell’ than helping the homeless.

We argued that quite a lot of support from both state and charity sectors are targeted at those in more obvious need. But beyond this there are many ordinary families who fall outside the remit of state support and who are priced out of their own local communities by the housing market.

During the chat there was an acknowledgement of this need and the loss of local families, but the point was stressed that the Church does have programmes to help the most obviously needy.

The Almshouse model

This led Father Edd to mention Almshouses, something we knew little about but they do make an interesting example. Since Medieval times, certain philanthropic individuals who had made good in the city would endow a few cottages for ‘poore widowes’ of their parish.

Here in Barnet there are several examples, such as Ravenscroft and Wilbraham, and in 1931 Sir Thomas Lipton, the tea magnate, left his 60 acre estate as a hostel for retired nurses.

Originally all hospitals were almshouses, so the unification of health and social care is not a new idea! They were also a branch of the church and some had chapels to pray for the soul of the benefactor, and so got hoovered up by Henry VIII under the dissolution of the monasteries.

But many are still going strong, and there are now 2,600 almshouse charities housing 36,000 people in need. A maintenance contribution is charged well below market rent – often less than 50% – and ‘poor’ is now translated as ‘eligible for housing benefit’. Therefore, two thirds of the residents have the rent fully- or part- funded by the state.

The case for our community

To return to our case, we argued that the challenge was to build sustainable mixed communities where families would not be driven away from their local roots by inflated house prices.

This could include professions such as teachers, nurses or artists, who may not be otherwise ‘needy’ but, conversely, may have a lot to give to the local community and parish.

This was a question of economic justice that the Archbishop recognised in his campaign ‘Reimagining Britain’ [Blog 8].

Our proposed affordability model was explored seriously. Concerns were raised over the nature of long term land leases, particularly in light of the government’s intention to ban them.

This had been rumbling since 2017 and the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill 2021-22 is at report stage now (Jan 24th 2022), which restricts ground rents to a peppercorn for newly created long lease houses and flats. However, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are exempt.

There were other concerns. The development manager expressed caution for the scale of the task of trying to build a new legal prototype alongside a small developmental project.

The questions kept on coming: Who would manage such a project – would we take this on? (Yes) Who would live there? What would be the governance model? What happens when tenants want to move – how can they pass on the house? Does it delay them getting ‘a foot on the ladder’?

This led to the issue of whether it would be more of a headache for the church than just the simple transaction of selling off the land now and using the money for mission purposes, fixing church roofs, insulating old vicarages, etc.

This was the current Diocesan policy to maximise income from property to fund mission and could be as simple as paying clergy’s stipends in deprived areas.

A common reality

This was a bit of a lightbulb moment. Any piece of land or territory – from a nation down to a single dwelling – must be governed, and difficult decisions made about who gets to live there. Government and land go together and maybe land reformers overlook how thorny this can be.

Even Almshouses have that challenge. Often those in housing need have additional needs requiring specialist help. So finding eligible ‘poor’ may not be easy so there is the risk it descends to those who are not as poor as intended or friends of the warden. Another example is that Almshouses allowing younger people – that are typically meant to be for shorter term help – can find difficulties moving them on once they are settled.

These charities need help to ‘navigate all the legislation’ according to the Almshouse Association another charity set up for that purpose and itself supported by AgeUK and the Elderly Accommodation Council – more charities.

For the same sorts of reasons 50 acres of Lipton’s estate were sold to fund modifications to the house to suit it for the nurses in 1935 and the remaining house and estate sold in 2015 by its trustee Friends of the Elderly. It is now a luxury private development by Yogo Group.

The discussion was sincere, intelligent and lengthy. We had not quite got our pitch ‘over the line’ but it was positive. There was an acknowledgement of a need to shift Diocesan policy and understand housing as primary mission material in and of itself.

In terms of the practical application for this piece of land the time was not right. There were too many unanswered questions and the land in question had already been allocated to be sold to fund mission.

The conclusion was that we were offered two possibilities:

We left the meeting a little crestfallen. We had failed to persuade the church to look at an idea of affordable housing on the site and how could we finance the purchase?

However, a new dawn shed a new perspective on the offers. There was potential in both the offers and, although challenging, maybe we could rise to meet them.

We would have to speak with investors if we were to develop both sites and, although they may be more profit-motivated which might erode our affordability and community-building aims, there might be a way to preserve them in some form.

We resolved to say yes to this offer. As for the second offer we doubted our capacity to explore these issues alongside our temporal duties however it was a challenge and full of potential so we resolved to say yes to this too.

 

Find your self and custom build register on the Right to Build Portal.

Read the other parts of the Self Build Family Build Blog.

Part One: Deciding to Self Build, the Turning Point

Part Two: Looking for Land in London

Part Three: The Land Value Idea

Part Four: A Small Matter of Access

Part Five: The Mystery of the Road Unravelled

Part Six: Negotiating a Deal

Part Seven: Best Consideration Pursuing our Community Building Idea

Part Eight: Calling on Higher Parts

Part Nine: The Affordability Question

 

Photo: printed with permission of Fiona Hanson 2020©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

secured a meeting with the Bishop it seemed pragmatic to try and get support from Enfield Council so that any proposal using the combined church and council land would carry more weight.

While looking for supportive policy we stumbled across a document “Custom & Self Build in Enfield” (now removed, but see this meeting), which put forward a strategy for delivering custom and self build homes on small-scale council-owned sites. Based on a leasehold model, it reduced upfront costs for purchasers in return for long- term ground rental income for the council.

It seemed perfect – the ideas were very much in tune with parts of what we had been proposing (See Part Three: The Land Value Idea) but much more developed in terms of implementation. The report hoped its pioneering lead might encourage other public landowners to follow.

The report was by the Regeneration department at Enfield Council and its leader was Peter George, who in the words of ‘Naked House’ (Blog 7) was a forward thinking man, looking at innovative ways to solve the housing crisis. The Naked House idea put forward a plan as an alternative custom building service provider trying genuinely to provide affordable homes on a not-for-profit basis.

We thought we could position ourselves as the ‘self build’ service provider with a similar offering. Unfortunately getting to meet or even speak to Mr George was a challenge that even my persistent efforts failed to achieve. I was passed from one department to another until I ended up back to square one at the door of the property disposals manager!

 

Universal challenges

We reconnected with Naked House and found we both had two major challenges:

  1. The government was trying to ban ‘ground rents’ on the basis that some have been misused. Some larger developers had sold leasehold houses with clauses enabling ground rents to double every 10 years so making the homes expensive and unsaleable. Community Land Trust groups were campaigning to include exemptions for community groups but these clauses needed careful working out. (In the end they were successful and CLTs are exempt from such charges.)
  2. The issue of how to make the model affordable, as buying land is a significant upfront cost. For a family buying, using the ground rent model they get a house at say 1/3rd below market price (1/3 being value of land). You could call it a ‘shared equity’ model as they own the house and have a mortgage for that but pay rent for the land – or like owning a flat.

Creating our prospectus for affordability

Affordability Model

We based our workings on the following:

Worked out in this way, the land proposition would be a good deal for the local Treasury, as it promised to recover the sale value of the land in a roughly 20 year period, and then would continue to deliver non-tax revenue to the local authority for the long term.

However, it is no longer affordable for the families if, on top of the mortgage, they have to pay 5% of £150k = £7,500 per year (or £625 month). We felt that this additional cost meant that 5% was clearly too high.

There is a similar scheme in Canberra, Australia, which was founded on Garden City principles. There the government land rent scheme was 4% with a discounted rate of 2% for families on low to middle incomes. The Government land rent is calculated on the unimproved value of land and lessees are required to construct a house on the land within two years of the lease being granted. So 2% is probably the level that Naked House would need and they subsequently were looking at that sort of level in the interest of affordability.

We hoped we could deliver affordable housing at 75% market price. 80% market price was the magic number picked by the Coalition government as a definition of ‘affordable housing’, although this still unaffordable to many families.

This would be achieved in three ways:

  1. The church would keep the land and charge a ground rent;
  2. The scheme would be a mixed community with higher income families paying closer to market price, while an element of bursary could be available for those on lower incomes, on a needs basis;
  3. As a community scheme some sales risk, finance cost and developer profits could be reduced to deliver a further affordability factor – perhaps 10%.

Our prospectus was coming together! We were ready to offer the church a ‘fresh revolution in housing’, just as the Archbishop of Canterbury had called for, one that was values led and offered a vision of better affordability.

Find your self and custom build register on the Right to Build Portal.

Read the other parts of the Self Build Family Build Blog.

Part One: Deciding to Self Build, the Turning Point

Part Two: Looking for Land in London

Part Three: The Land Value Idea

Part Four: A Small Matter of Access

Part Five: The Mystery of the Road Unravelled

Part Six: Negotiating a Deal

Part Seven: Best Consideration Pursuing our Community Building Idea

Part Eight: Calling on Higher Parts

 

Photo: printed with permission of Fiona Hanson 2020©

Turn-key, timber-frame housebuilder Dan-Wood has started work on site on its 30th house at the Graven Hill community in Oxfordshire.

Every Dan-Wood house on the site reflects individual styles, shapes and sizes, as selected by customers working within the framework of a Plot Passport. 

The latest Dan-Wood home going up is no exception, as the owners wanted an ‘upside down’ layout. 

This means that the main living areas, where people spend most time such as the living room and kitchen, are on the first floor, with the bedrooms and utility room on the ground floor. This way, the new owners can enjoy picturesque open views across the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.

The bespoke design also features vaulted ceilings, striking black and red timber cladding, and maximum energy efficiency with solar panels, an Air Source Heat Pump and a roof overhang to avoid overheating in summer.

Dan-Wood houses are prefabricated which means that every component is designed and built in Dan-Wood’s factory in Poland, then shipped to the UK and delivered to a plot on an appointed day.

Dan-Wood offers a full service from initial design through to full ‘turn-key’ construction. Everything, from initial design through to interior decoration, is included in a fixed price, with exceptional thermal efficiency and ventilation – which comes as standard in every Dan-Wood house – ensuring comfortable, cost-effective and energy-efficient living.

 

Some of the houses built by Dan-Wood at Graven Hill, including the show house (Centre image)

“Building at Graven Hill has many benefits, not least that customers know they will have guaranteed planning permission, and that the plot is already fully serviced for utilities,” says Lucy Yendell, Dan-Wood’s agent who has been involved in the Graven Hill development since plots were first released in 2016. “And since we began building here, the whole process has become more streamlined and straightforward.”

“We also have a show home at Graven Hill which has become a useful centre for Dan-Wood throughout the South of England. For many clients, seeing a show home or a house being built is an important step in their decision-making. Visiting Graven Hill also gives them an opportunity to see the many different styles of houses that are being built here, including the Dan-Wood terraced houses which were built for the open market and sold very quickly.”

To find out more about Dan-Wood’s work at Graven Hill, visit the website.

Roads and services have gone in in the innovative 12 home custom build Pound Lane site in Laindon, Essex, with plots available to buy now.

Located near to Basildon, the site is in a wooded setting, with links to Fenchurch St Station in London taking just 35 minutes, making it a fantastic choice for commuters. The homes come with private gardens and a communal garden, with an optional on-plot garage.

Buyers can choose the layout, size and fit out of their home, working to one of the three pre-designed home types, as specified in the planning permission. Each design is linked to one of the plots in the planning permission (see colour coding on plan below), so buying early ensures you have the widest choice of optoins. There are two house sizes on offer, and prices start from £445,000.

For example, Plot 6 with its S6 House design costs £235,000 for the 5,931 sqft plot, and the build price should be between £210,000 to £350,000 depending on your route and specification.

Buyers can choose two routes to ownership –

A la Carte Design – with this route you work with a Customer Coach to go through a series of choices based on a palette of materials and layouts, which are already costed out to make the process transparent when working with budgets.

DIY Design – this gives you far more freedom when it comes to designing the layout and specification, with only the position of the stairwells and utility risers being fixed. Buyers buy the weather-proof shell and can then take the house through to completion. The Customer Coach is available to support people through this process.

The project is unusual in that it is a collaboration between a team of companies, including architects, AOCMae and Pitman Tozer and custom build enabler Unboxed Homes and Dutch developer Steenvlinder.

Pound Lane plots

Unboxed are filming blogs as activity takes place at Pound Lane on YouTube, take a look here.

 

Unboxed Homes has recently completed a terrace of custom build homes in Peckham, London, Blenheim Grove, and is working on a group custom build scheme in London.

In a reflection of the buoyant market for custom and self build, Netherlands-based Steenvlinder has announced a major investment in the UK with three new sites. If they all go ahead, this could bring 150 plot opportunities to the market, centred around Ashford, Birmingham and Basildon.

NaCSBA member Steenvlinder is working with a range of partners to bring on the sites, including Czero and Unboxed Homes, and is in the process of recruiting for more staff for its UK operations.

Steenvlinder was set up by Hans Sparreboom and Marnix Norder in 2015 to create owner-commissioned custom build homes in the Netherlands, and it has delivered 2,000 homes since then, with more in the pipeline.

Netherlands has been a pioneer for initiatives to scale up the provision of self and custom build homes, which Richard Bacon MP saying in his review that, “Despite its size, the Netherlands has led the way in innovation in the housing sector, with the new town of Almere being an international model of what can be achieved at scale.”

Currently, Steenvlinder’s site at Pound Lane in Basildon – a collaboration with several architects – has 12 plots, available for purchase. The sites in Ashford is going through planning, with 105 plots potentially coming to the market, with the Birmingham site having scope for 30-50 plots – although the location has not yet been announced.

Why is the timing right for self build?

Owner commissioned homes are firmly on the government’s agenda, with the publication earlier this year of the Custom and Self Build Action Plan and Richard Bacon’s independent review to develop a plan for scaling up the sector, making it the perfect time for new and European companies to make the most of the positive environment.

Hans Sparreboom, Steenvlinder CEO, said: “With the English government supportive of the CSB methodology we need to spend less time asking how to build more houses and more about making ‘how to make houses’ more popular. We’re excited about helping the UK build back better with homes designed and built to last.”

The Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), said: “It is encouraging to see further investment in the customer and self-build market in the UK. It has the potential to deliver thousands more homes each year as we bring forward the recommendations in the Bacon Review to scale-up the sector and introduce the Help to Build scheme which will make home building a realistic and affordable option to many more people.”

NaCSBA continues to work and support government as it considers the recommendations put forwards in the review.

We’re following the story of Anne, mother of six boys who is building a home for her family and one for the grandparents on the same site. They used the Right to Build to help them escape the private rental sector, acting as pioneers for the legislation, which even the council was unsure about at the time.

Anne's family

Part 9: The Affordability Question

A quick recap: 
Edged out by a new discourse between church and state, we tried to counter the market intentions of the Church’s property dept with community ideas, which secured an appointment to make a pitch to the Bishop of Edmonton. Meanwhile, we tried to reach someone in the council who might share a similar vision for Community Housing.

Local policy support

Having secured a meeting with the Bishop it seemed pragmatic to try and get support from Enfield Council so that any proposal using the combined church and council land would carry more weight.

While looking for supportive policy we stumbled across a document “Custom & Self Build in Enfield” (now removed, but see this meeting), which put forward a strategy for delivering custom and self build homes on small-scale council-owned sites. Based on a leasehold model, it reduced upfront costs for purchasers in return for long- term ground rental income for the council.

It seemed perfect – the ideas were very much in tune with parts of what we had been proposing (See Part Three: The Land Value Idea) but much more developed in terms of implementation. The report hoped its pioneering lead might encourage other public landowners to follow.

The report was by the Regeneration department at Enfield Council and its leader was Peter George, who in the words of ‘Naked House’ (Blog 7) was a forward thinking man, looking at innovative ways to solve the housing crisis. The Naked House idea put forward a plan as an alternative custom building service provider trying genuinely to provide affordable homes on a not-for-profit basis.

We thought we could position ourselves as the ‘self build’ service provider with a similar offering. Unfortunately getting to meet or even speak to Mr George was a challenge that even my persistent efforts failed to achieve. I was passed from one department to another until I ended up back to square one at the door of the property disposals manager!

Enfield site - blog1

Universal challenges

We reconnected with Naked House and found we both had two major challenges:

  1. The government was trying to ban ‘ground rents’ on the basis that some have been misused. Some larger developers had sold leasehold houses with clauses enabling ground rents to double every 10 years so making the homes expensive and unsaleable. Community Land Trust groups were campaigning to include exemptions for community groups but these clauses needed careful working out. (In the end they were successful and CLTs are exempt from such charges.)
  2. The issue of how to make the model affordable, as buying land is a significant upfront cost. For a family buying, using the ground rent model they get a house at say 1/3rd below market price (1/3 being value of land). You could call it a ‘shared equity’ model as they own the house and have a mortgage for that but pay rent for the land – or like owning a flat.

Creating our prospectus for affordability

Affordability Model

We based our workings on the following:

Worked out in this way, the land proposition would be a good deal for the local Treasury, as it promised to recover the sale value of the land in a roughly 20 year period, and then would continue to deliver non-tax revenue to the local authority for the long term.

However, it is no longer affordable for the families if, on top of the mortgage, they have to pay 5% of £150k = £7,500 per year (or £625 month). We felt that this additional cost meant that 5% was clearly too high.

There is a similar scheme in Canberra, Australia, which was founded on Garden City principles. There the government land rent scheme was 4% with a discounted rate of 2% for families on low to middle incomes. The Government land rent is calculated on the unimproved value of land and lessees are required to construct a house on the land within two years of the lease being granted. So 2% is probably the level that Naked House would need and they subsequently were looking at that sort of level in the interest of affordability.

We hoped we could deliver affordable housing at 75% market price. 80% market price was the magic number picked by the Coalition government as a definition of ‘affordable housing’, although this still unaffordable to many families.

This would be achieved in three ways:

  1. The church would keep the land and charge a ground rent;
  2. The scheme would be a mixed community with higher income families paying closer to market price, while an element of bursary could be available for those on lower incomes, on a needs basis;
  3. As a community scheme some sales risk, finance cost and developer profits could be reduced to deliver a further affordability factor – perhaps 10%.

Our prospectus was coming together! We were ready to offer the church a ‘fresh revolution in housing’, just as the Archbishop of Canterbury had called for, one that was values led and offered a vision of better affordability.

Find your self and custom build register on the Right to Build Portal.

Read the other parts of the Self Build Family Build Blog.

Part One: Deciding to Self Build, the Turning Point

Part Two: Looking for Land in London

Part Three: The Land Value Idea

Part Four: A Small Matter of Access

Part Five: The Mystery of the Road Unravelled

Part Six: Negotiating a Deal

Part Seven: Best Consideration Pursuing our Community Building Idea

Part Eight: Calling on Higher Parts

 

Photo: printed with permission of Fiona Hanson 2020©

Work has commenced on the infrastructure for the first 18 plots on a 50 home custom build site in the Lake District National Park. The site is being developed by custom build specialist Hugr Homes, which has joined up with timber frame manufacturer Fleming Homes to deliver the timber frame houses.

Wellbank is a unique development in the Lake District National Park in the village of Bootle, with an emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable homes. Hugr Homes is acting as the enabler, having achieved planning permission, and is commencing with the infrastructure for the first phase of 18 homes. The houses will be provided by Fleming Homes, a manufacturer of bespoke, timber frame homes based in the Scottish Borders.

Wellbank Hugr Homes PLan

Wellbank, which is about one mile away from Bootle railway station and less than half an hour from Broughton in Furness, will be one of the largest custom build schemes in the UK, with 18 plots available in phase one.

 

Working with a timber frame manufacturer helps streamline the custom build site, as opposed to a self build solution where buyers are free to commission their own choice of company. Customers will work with Fleming Homes to design their home, working within the parameters of the Design Code, with a choice of plot types on offer for houses and bungalows.

Timber frame is a form of Modern Method of Construction (MMC) that is quick to erect on site, with the the average four-bed family home can reaching wind and watertight in a few weeks, which provides efficiencies when it comes to managing build schedules.

Joe Higginson MD and Founder of Hugr Homes, said, “We founded Hugr Homes to provide more opportunities for Custom Build, and it is all that we do as we firmly believe that the Custom Build model will grow.

“We are delighted to be starting on this site, which is located in the beautiful Lake District National Park. Both the site and the opportunity to custom build your own home is already generating interest, not just locally but also from the wider North West of England. We are also seeing lots of interest from people whose work is now more flexible, with working from home allowing them to relocate to more desirable areas of the country while still continuing in the same job.

“In terms of other sites, we have a site in Culgaith east of Penrith which will be custom build with 13 plots available. We are with Homes England for infrastructure funding on this and hope to be on site later this year.”

Sarah Mathieson, managing director of Fleming Homes, said: “We both align on the idea of helping more people live in higher quality homes. What Fleming Homes is keen to do is open-up the possibility of self and custom-building as a real option to more people to achieve more low-carbon, energy efficient, quality homes.

“It’s about giving more choice for homeowners to live their lives in homes that meet their aspirations for living and in homes that are ultimately fit for the future.”

Register your interest for the Wellbank site

Images: Artform Architects

Land promoter Leaper Land has submitted a planning application to Wokingham Borough Council for up to 33 Custom and Self-Build homes at Broadcommon Road, Hurst. Anyone wishing to self build locally can offer their support for the application on the planning section of Wokingham’s website, by searching application number 213378.

The scheme features 27 houses and six flats, including 14 affordable homes, set among two large recreational spaces available to the wider community, including a play area and a natural space with a wilder feel.

Leaper has submitted an outline application to establish the principles, to be followed by a reserved matters application if the scheme is approved. This will set out the parameters for the individual homes before development commences. Leaper would be responsible for delivering infrastructure, including roadways, footpaths and landscaping works, and installing utilities to create the serviced plots for custom or self-builders.

As a custom and self build development, the design of each new home would be controlled by a Design Code. This will give buyers the context in which they customise their own house design to their needs and tastes, subject to a menu of pre-approved architectural styles set out in the Design Code.

The community has already been engaged with, including with an online exhibition and a parish council meeting. These helped shape the application, resulting in the introduction of passing bays and new signage along Broadcommon Road; moving the vehicular access 6.4m to the east; redesigning the apartment block; and increasing and landscaping the area of land between the existing properties and the proposed plots.

Ben Marten, Director of Leaper, commented: “Wokingham has one of the greatest demands for Custom and Self-Build in the UK and there is a substantial shortfall in the provision of serviced plots in the Wokingham borough. The proposal at Hurst would go a long way to helping the Council meet their legal obligation to provide for this demand.”

If you have land that you think would be suitable for custom or self build, get in touch with Leaper Land.