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Former Hospital Land Considered for New Homes

An application to build 122 new homes in The Spinney, which borders the former Park Prewett Hospital site, is currently being considered by the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

That project is now about to become even more significant after it was selected as a pilot project for the government custom build project, which will involve plots being made available via private contractor to create a combination of custom- and self-build homes.

The project also involves 44 plots being earmarked for affordable housing. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis expressed hope that it would be the impetus for more people getting on the housing ladder.

Mr. Lewis said that the current government was committed to increasing the supply of available housing and helping more people afford their own homes, whether it be via buying on the open market, using schemes like Help to Buy, or going the self-build route.

He explained that the government wanted to see custom and self-build grow, seeing it as a way to help deliver the homes that people want and need. The Park Prewett pilot exemplified government commitment to double the number of custom and self-built homes by 2020.

As part of its draft local plan, the borough council has to build 850 homes each year until 2029. Cllr Terri Reid, deputy leader, said that she welcomed “any innovative suggestions.”

The cabinet member for housing and regeneration declared her approval of the custom build project, saying that the council is eager to work with partners to support opportunities that increase housing supply.

The authority is also considering the idea of using pre-fabricated homes to tackle the housing shortage in the area.

Cllr Reid said that they supported those who could both give more people a chance to ascend the property ladder and add to the variety of homes available in the borough. She added that the details of this particular scheme would need to be reviewed and agreed-upon as part of the planning application procedure.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is the housing and regeneration agency for the UK government, acquired the Park Prewitt location from Highways Agency in 2014.

The project will be led by acclaimed developers ZeroC if the borough council grants planning approval to the proposal. It is hoped that work will begin next year.

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Kim Slowe, ZeroC managing director, said that Park Prewitt was an excellent opportunity for the developer to pioneer the delivery of custom-built homes in the country.

Mr Slowe added that they plan to take what they learn from this project and make custom build available in all their projects across the UK.

Colin Molton, HCA executive director for the south, said that custom build makes it easier for people to get onto the housing ladder. By giving would-be homeowners the opportunity to assume some of the build themselves, the cost of home ownership can be reduced.

Mr Molton said that land has been made available for custom build projects on pilot schemes all over England, and the HCA hopes to give more people the chance to design their own homes in the future.

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