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Council Makes It Possible For More Families To Build Their Own Home

Thanks to the extension of a council scheme, 75 more families will get the opportunity to build their own homes.

Two years ago, Stoke-on-Trent City Council sold six Penkhull plots allocated for self-build purposes, and the final home is close to being completed.

Now the council is prepared to offer at least 75 more plots on three new self-build locations in Stoke-on-Trent.

Over 350 people have registered their interest in self-build and custom-build projects in the city.

The local authority’s initiative is one of eleven Right to Build Vanguard schemes in place around the UK.

After visiting the Penkhull Farm development, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said that the Government intends to double the amount of self-build opportunities to 20,000 annually by 2020.

He added that there is a vast number of people who want to be given the opportunity to build their own home, and the Government wants to make it easier for them to do so.

Mr Lewis said that they want a major change in the way homebuying is regarded in the UK. At one time, anyone who wanted to buy a new-build property would select a plot on a development and be told what type of home would be built on it.

“If you were lucky you'd be able to choose the colour of the door,” he added.

The Penkhull self-build scheme drew a lot more interest than expected, generating high demand, and at auction the plots earned £591,000 for the city council.

The council created new utility service, access, and drainage connections to ensure that the site would be ‘shovel ready’ for buyers out to construct their dream homes.

 

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Planning controls specify that all of the buyers must finish their homes within 18 months and be prepared to live in them for at least a year.

The council was given £72,000 under the Right to Build scheme to source more self-build sites. Selected locations are scheduled to be announced in April.

The authority’s cabinet member for communities, Cllr Randy Conteh, explained that self-build represented only one aspect of the council’s approach to housing.

Mr Conteh added that there is a mixture of housing developments in the city. At the high end there are the executive-style homes in Penkhull, but the council is also looking at facilitating lower-cost properties in its Housing Zones. At the other end there is the £1 homes scheme, which is undergoing expansion.

He said that the council is trying to create new communities, which is a very important undertaking.

Hanley Economic Building Society’s chief executive, David Webster, said that self and custom builds are rapidly growing markets for his business.

Mr Webster added that he has seen self-build homes become more in demand in the south, and now they are growing popular in his local area. He said that the people who embrace self-build are usually on their second or third home, so they know precisely what they want.

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