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Self builders become eligible for funding from the Affordable Homes Guarantee Programme

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The government  announced yesterday that it will provide £65 million from the affordable housing pot to fund self builders who commit to providing affordable homes.

The interest in self-build projects is at an all time high following recent incentives by the government such as dismantling barriers that hold back self-build projects: limited land availability and reluctance by lenders to provide finance and red tape.

Ahead of the Home Improvement Show next weekend 27-29 September in Olympia, London, which attracts 1000s of people interested in self building, renovations and conversions, the latest measures announced by the Government have been met with great enthusiasm and positive response from the public.

Communities Minister Don Foster announced a series of measures to ensure the self-build market is opened up to those on lower incomes. These include:

Providing new grant funding for community self-builders

For the first time community self-build and community-led affordable housing projects will be able to apply for a share of £65 million from the Affordable Homes Guarantees Programme to build the affordable homes they want in their area.

Working with councils to increase land for self-build plots

New planning practice guidance will be introduced to ensure councils establish the demand for self-build in their area, as well as take steps to help aspiring self-builders. This will include compiling a local register of people who want to build their own homes so they can be given first priority when new brownfield sites become available.

Removing unfair taxes from self-builders

New Council Tax discounts will be introduced for self-build family annexes, removing an unfair council tax penalty surcharge. Meanwhile, genuine self-builders will be exempted from paying inappropriate Section 106 tariffs and the community infrastructure levy, which will cut the cost of self-build by thousands of pounds.

Freeing up more redundant public sector land for self-builders

A review of the Homes and Communities Agency’s large number of smaller plots will identify those which are not viable for large-scale house building, but are perfect for small housing projects like self-build. More property asset data will be published online and the Community Right to Reclaim Land enhanced so self-builders can request redundant public sector land is released and sold for self-build projects.

Ending misconceptions about self-build

Mr Foster said the measures would help end the misconception that self-build is the pastime of a privileged elite, rather than a mainstream option.

In 2012 to 2013 almost 11,000 new homes were self-built, in an industry worth up to £4 billion for the UK economy and is expected to double in size over the next 10 years.

Announcing the new measures, Communities Minister Don Foster said:

“For many people the concept of building your own home means one thing: a fantasy mansion built by people with deep pockets and endless spare time. We are determined to end this misconception so anyone with aspirations to build their own home has the opportunity to do so, including people on low incomes.

That is why we will give community-led groups the chance to apply for a share of £65 million to build the affordable homes they want in their area, and introduce other measures to boost access to land and end unfair taxes.

These measures will open the door for hundreds of potential building projects across the country, and consolidate the progress we’ve already made to establish self build as a mainstream option.”

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