NaCSBA congratulates the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) on 15 years of supporting aspiring self builders as they plan and carry out their project. As the UK’s only permanent visitor centre for self-builders, renovators, and home improvers it has numerous awards and much praise for its crucial role in the sector.

No planning for a self build is complete without a visit to the centre in Swindon, where its permanent stands and exhibits support people getting to grips with the process, where they can experience materials and processes, chat to suppliers or get tailored advice. In addition the NSBRC also runs a calendar of self build shows, training and external events that make repeat visits well worth the effort.

Launched by BuildStore, for the last six years the centre has been run as an employee-owned business, ‘The Homebuilding Centre Limited’, ensuring that staff are invested in the services they provide.

Over the years the centre has won several awards, not least in 2017 it won a Build It Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Self Build’, as well as several for its employee-ownership model.

To celebrate its fifteenth anniversary the team hosted a special birthday dinner in April to thank the local and national self build community and stakeholders for their support over the years.

Harvey, said, “2022 is a special year and a real achievement for NSBRC, and we’ve got lots of exciting plans for the future. We’re hosting more events, workshops and courses than ever before to help people build better homes, including a late opening (until 9am) on select Thursdays over the coming months to give people the chance to discover self build at a time that’s more convenient to them.

Late nights at the NSBRC run on 28th April, Thursday 26th May and Tuesday 28th June – visit the website for the full calendar of events.

Find out more about NSBRC’s employee owned model

 

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.

Any self builder responsible for their site will be interested to read the latest findings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to ensure workers and visitors to their site are safe.

The report found that fatal injuries to UK construction workers have risen 8.3% since 2016/17, with half of these fatalities due to falls from heights.

With such a high-risk factor, it is essential that any self builder – or contractor, carefully plan any work at height, ensures relevant training has been undertaken and that the right equipment is used and procedures followed.

Many self builders like to help on site even if they are not working there in the day – and jobs like fixing gutters and painting can all involve working at height risks.

Safety first

In Great Britain construction is framed in law by the The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, a comprehensive suite of legislation embracing health and safety, and the risk assessments that mitigate risks. And even in line with this, the number of fatalities and accidents is still increasing.

Herts Tool Hire reviewed the data from the HSE (and produced the above infographic), looking at the impact of non-fatal construction accidents on construction industries. Read its analysis here.

construction accidents infographic

 

It reported that injuries and ill health cost £16.2 billion in 2018/19 – with 20% borne by employers, 22% by government and the remaining nearly 59% end up being a cost to the individuals themselves. This could be because of the high-number of sub contractors and self employed in the construction sector.

For more on Health & Safety visit our advice section

NaCSBA, the National Custom And Self Build Association has launched its first annual survey of self builders, and needs anyone that has completed their self or custom build in the last five years to help out.

The survey takes around 10 minutes to fill in – but you are performing an invaluable service to the sector and anyone that dreams of building or commissioning their own home! And to thank you NaCSBA is giving five respondents a £100 John Lewis voucher!

Why the Self Build Survey is so important

We all know that data is king – but NaCSBA uses this data in its discussions with government as it works to create more opportunities for businesses and people wanting to self build. It has had phenomenal success to date – from the Right to Build legislation to the government-commissioned Bacon Review of Custom and Self Build, but needs your help to compile a more robust – and ongoing set of data.

This need for solid data was recently stressed in a recent report by Places for People and Cambridge University, the Economic Review of Self Build and Custom Housebuilding, and the survey is a first crucial step in meeting this need for facts and figures.

Please take the time to fill in the survey, and share with anyone you know that may have completed their own project in the last five years.

You can copy the link and email to your friends: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NaCSBA2022 

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©

With many homes completed or underway, Graven Hill has released the latest nine plots for self builders at Bicester based self and custom build development. More plots will be released as the year progresses.

As well as offering a route to market for anyone wishing to build but struggling to find plots, Graven Hill is firmly establishing itself as a vibrant community of like-minded residents from first-time buyers to retirees.

Interest in the new plots is high, with prices ranging from £235,000 to £265,000, with the largest able to cater for a 6-bedroom home. They are in a character area of the site called ‘Circular Railway’, which incorporates features of the existing historic railway and next to green spaces.

As with most custom and self builds at Graven Hill, each plot comes with its own unique ‘Plot Passport’ that sets out the parameters for what can be built on that plot. This includes, for example, the maximum number of bedrooms and gross internal areas and also the choice of pre-approved building materials.

Financial support in the form of the Government’s new Help to Build scheme is also available on these plots, allowing buyers to benefit from a 5% deposit, alongside a Government-backed equity loan.

Custom build options

A range of new custom build homes are also due to be launched soon, for those wanting personalisation, without having to don a hard hat.

With these homes, the earlier in the build process the homes are purchased, the more customisation options the buyers will have, including layout, fixtures and fittings. Those purchasing custom builds will also be able to take advantage of the Help to Build scheme.

Gemma Davis, customer experience director at Graven Hill said: “The UK housing market is undergoing huge change and we’ve seen a dramatic spike in interest in self-building. Unfortunately, in the past, plot availability, finances and planning permission have all acted as barriers, with only a small minority able to overcome them. However, we’re changing this with the housing options we provide at Graven Hill.

“Our self-build plots have always been popular, getting snapped up quickly, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. Self-building results in a truly diverse community, which celebrates the uniqueness of its residents. This is in stark contrast to the cookie-cutter homes that have come to be associated with new build developments. The people who purchase our new plots will be adding their personality to Graven Hill, and we can’t wait to see the result.”

To find out more about the plots contact Graven Hill 

The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards has announced the winner of its annual competition, a firm favourite for fans of homes and design.

The awards celebrate the cream of the UK’s self build, renovations, extensions and conversions, and this year’s awards included a selection of properties that overcame the odds to complete their project. This year’s entrants faced a range of problems that can impact any project, such as planning delays, material shortages, builders bankruptcies and, of course, the pandemic.

The overall Home of the Year winner of the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards was Patch House, designed by Spencer and Emma Guy. This family home was a labour of love that was 10 years in the making, with the family finishing the rooms while living in the property between 2011 and 2019.

The property exhibits the couple’s passion, with perfect attention to detail and design principles carried through from the architecture to the interiors. The result is a home that is able to adapt to the needs of the family as it matures, and is highly sufficient as it only requires heating for 70% of the year.

Home of the year 2021

Patch House, Winner of the Home of the Year (Credit Martin Gardner).

“This is a house fit for our challenging times, addressing climate change through harnessing renewable energy technologies,” says architect and judge Darren Bray. “It’s designed to enhance the site context and landscape, including the natural swimming pond that sits to one end of the two storey volumes.”

“We were particularly impressed by how this new home has been exactingly designed for its site, which was previously occupied by a derelict chicken shed,” adds editor and judge Claire Lloyd. “Not only does the house’s orientation ensure that the living areas benefit from passive solar gain, but carefully placed glazing frames the views like artwork and natural light brings different spaces to life throughout the day. This new home exudes warmth and character but, importantly, it’s also a practical, robust family home.”

Visit Homebuildng & Renovating for a full list of the winning homes, including the Best Self Build.

The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has welcomed the publication of the Help to Build prospectus, and calls for members of the public to register to be among the first to take advantage of this pivotal scheme on opening for applications.

The link for registering is at the end of the prospectus, as it is important that people understand how the scheme works before registering to find out more information. Registering will ensure you are notified for when the scheme formally opens, and you can find out more on the government’s Own Your Own Home website.

Download the prospectus

Help to Build is the government’s new finance programme – an equity loan scheme designed to open up the custom and self build market to people with smaller deposits. 

The potential of the scheme is significant, making an owner-commissioned property a more affordable route to home ownership, for more people. This in turn will lead to more homes being built, contributing to government’s ambition to delivery 300,000 homes annually. The loan doesn’t just have to be for a self build, as other options, such as barn conversions, are covered. 

Help to Build logo

The loan is a first for anyone wanting to custom or self build, as the Help to Buy scheme, which this scheme is loosely based on, was not available on owner-commissioned homes. 

Where Help to Buy transferred the funds to the developer, Help to Build is focussed on the mortgage lender. This is because the self-builder is likely to engage with multiple parties – to buy the land, build the house and fit out the interior. The new scheme is expected to open up the market to more people wanting to build, especially those with smaller deposits.

About the fund

The prospectus sets out what would-be self and custom builders can expect from the scheme, such as the fact that lending is only through registered stakeholders, and the self build mortgage used to build the house will convert to a non-custom or self-build mortgage on completion of the build.

It also sets out the eligibility criteria for applying, for example:

  • You must have a have a minimum 5% deposit ,
  • loans can be between 5-20% of the total estimated cost (40% in London),
  • people can borrow up to £600,000 for the build and land, or up to £400,000 for build alone,
  • the loan will attract interest, payable from year 6,
  • the planned house must be your only home,
  • you must have outline planning permission to apply, and
  • payback amounts are calculated on the value of your home at the point of sale – so if the value rises so does the amount you owe on the loan.

NaCSBA hopes that the success of the scheme will help drive a step change in the sector encouraging more permissioned land to come forward and more businesses delivering the sites and homes that customers desire. In doing so it hopes it will create a virtuous cycle of activity as the sector works towards creating the 30,000 to 40,000 homes a year that the government would like to see the it provide.

 Help to Build could support this vision by helping several thousand people along the road to home ownership. 

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “People across the country dream of building their own home and through our ground-breaking Help to Build scheme we are making it a realistic and affordable option.

“Help to Build will put them in charge of the house-building process and make sure they get the home they truly want.

“This scheme will also support small housebuilders and create thousands of local jobs – providing a huge boost the self and custom build sector and delivering much-needed new homes.”

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO said: “Help to Build will mean that more people can have the new home they actually want including those with smaller deposits, sound plans and big hopes. The greater choice enabled by this scheme will lead to more affordable and better homes that are more wanted and more sustainable.

“Contrary to common perception, in most cases custom and self build is not about people undertaking the build themselves. Rather, it is about the homeowner having control over the design and specification of their project – enabling them to create the home they want, rather than the one someone else believes they would like. It means that new homes will now be part of the solution for the large numbers of people whose cultural, ecological, physical or emotional needs are not currently met by the new-build market.”

Karen Curtin, managing director at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self build development, said: “With self-building becoming more affordable, we hope that more people will feel able to purchase their own self-build plot. We’ve found them to be hugely popular, so it’s clear that there is a desire to self-build among the general population. People have simply not been given as much support as needed to explore this route until now.  

 “Accessibility has always been at the heart of Graven Hill, with purchasers benefitting from financial support such as Plot Passports, fast track planning, Golden Brick packages and custom home options, we aim to make the self-building process as simple as possible for homeowners. Now, there is even more opportunity for all homeowners to create a home that meets their requirements and lifestyle.  

“We will be releasing a number of new plots that will be eligible for this government funding in the near future. By taking a more innovative approach to house buying, we can make ‘settling’ a thing of the past.” 

Photos: Potton/Kingspan 

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©

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.