Custom build housing remains firmly an element of the Government's housing delivery agenda.  Not all the "new" money in investment funds announced by Eric Pickles earlier this week is actually new, but the £150M for serviced plots for self-build is.

The Prospectus published yesterday (26 June 2014) contains details of a fund "to address the challenges that custom builders face and provide finance for the development of serviced plots to support people who want to build their own home".  It's publication follows an announcement in the Budget 2014.

The Prospectus details eligibility for accessing the funding, some of the key points being:

  • Funding will be on the basis of a fully recoverable, State Aid compliant loan.
  • It will be payable to non-public sector applicants, which may include Registered Providers.
  • Applicable sites must be for 5 or more serviced plots.
  • Sites should be "shovel ready" - with at least outline planning permission.
  • The funding is to be applied to the costs of providing on-site infrastructure works (site utilities servicing and access), site preparation (including land preparation and demolition works), fencing and structural landscaping to secure the site boundary, and professional fees.
  • A cap of £3 million will apply for any single project, for up to 75% eligible costs.

Applications can be made through an HCA hosted online portal which will open in July 2014 and close on 30 September 2014.  An initial assessment of expressions of interest will lead to a short listing, following which due diligence will be undertaken on selected sites.  If the timetable that has applied for previous self-build funds is replicated, this means there could be some "good news" announcements made in the Spring of next year, close to the General Election.