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Housing Minister Reveals Details of Large Custom Build Pilot

Brandon Lewis has announced that a new 122-home development has been chosen as a nationwide pilot for bigger-scale custom build developments.

The Housing Minister confirmed that the UK government fully supports the sector and is committed to collaborating with industry experts to eliminate the two greatest obstacles to custom and self-build: access to financing and land.

ZeroC will develop the custom build site at Park Prewett, which is part of a key housing development in Basingstoke. All homes will be delivered under the custom build banner, from custom fit-out to self-build. These homes can also be tailored to the buyer’s specifications, with a range of custom build options on offer.

ZeroC has received several industry awards for its build strategy, which include space standards that complement the people living in the homes. They are resourced to build over 200 homes a year and have consents for over 1500 residences, offices, and commercial buildings.

Acting in its capacity as the land, housing, and regeneration agency for England, the Homes and Communities Agency acquired the custom build site last year. Now that a developer is secured, the team is working with ZeroC and the council for Basingstoke and Deane borough to obtain planning permission.

Site plans also include 44 plots which will be reserved for affordable housing. A few plots will also be made available for 100% self-build purposes. Subject to successful planning consent, building will begin in 2016.

Mr. Lewis said that Park Prewett is a prime example of the government’s commitment to double the number of custom and self-build homes in the UK by 2020.

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“Anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so,” he added.

ZeroC managing director Kim Slowe said that Park Prewett was an excellent opportunity for the developer to pioneer the delivery of quality custom build homes in the UK. He added that they plan to use what they learn on this project to produce custom build in all their projects within the UK.

The HCA executive director in the South and South West, Mr Colin Molton, said that custom build makes it easier to get onto the property ladder. When people have the option of carrying out some of the build themselves, the cost of owning their own home is reduced significantly.

Mr Molton said that the HCA has made land available for custom build on these types of schemes across England, and intends to provide many more UK residents with the opportunity to design their own homes.

The government recently confirmed that it would increase initiatives to provide additional support to the self-build sector. Additional funding worth £350 million has been made available. There will also be a new fund making £1 billion available for financing purposes: it will replace the Custom Build Service Plots fund and Builder’s Finance Fund.

These measures are arriving on top of several reforms to support small builders, such as the Housing and Planning Bill, which requires local authorities to set aside eligible plots for would-be custom and self-builders who have registered.

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