We haven't heard much about self-build housing for a little while, nor the Community Right to Build. These two initiatives were launched last year by the then Housing Minister, Grant Shapps with funding available to help bring forward schemes. The call for community-led proposals designed in part to promote small-scale, self-build development have not generated the level of interest that was hoped for. Planning reported that only four applications were submitted in the first nine months of the Community Right to Build fund being open. Of course, the development funding and residential sales markets remain sluggish at best, and confidence is slow to rise.
So we are to welcome Housing Minister, Mark Prisk's announcement that the rules for support funding under the Community Right to Build scheme are to be relaxed. To date, the funding has been limited to supporting established community groups to fund the preparation of development proposals and submission of a Community Right to Build Order. Now a fund of £14M (available until 31 March 2015) will also be accessible by self-build developers bringing forward community-led housing schemes. This is in addition to the Custom Build Fund of £30M, which reportedly is more than half ear-marked for 15 projects.
What we need to see now is the conclusion of what I have heard are cumbersome and slow form-filing and due diligence processes, and the consequent release of the funding to enable starts on site.