Pilot custom build scheme for new homes announced in UK

A new development of 122 homes has been selected as a national pilot in the UK for large scale custom build, as part of an overall policy to boost this sector of the housing market.

The proposed custom build site at Park Prewett, part of a major new housing development in Basingstoke, will be developed by ZeroC. The developer will provide homes under the custom build model, ranging from self-build to custom fit-out.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said that each of the homes can be customised to the buyer’s specifications with various levels of custom build on offer to buyers.

Plans for the site will also include 44 plots which will be allocated for affordable housing, along with a few entirely-self build plots that will be made available.

‘This government is committed to increasing housing supply and helping more people achieve their aspiration of home ownership whether that’s buying on the open market through schemes like Help to Buy, or to build,’ said Lewis.

‘We want to see custom and self-build grow significantly and believe it can play a role as part of a wider package of measures to help deliver the homes people want. The Park Prewett pilot is a fantastic example of our commitment to double the number of custom build and self-build homes by 2020 so anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so,’ he added.

Kim Slowe, managing director of Zero C, believes that it is an outstanding opportunity for the firm to pioneer the delivery of custom build in the country. ‘We plan to take the lessons learned and roll out custom build in all our projects within the UK,’ he said.

According to Colin Molton, executive director of the HCA in the South and South West, custom build offers a more accessible route onto the housing ladder. ‘By giving people the option to take on some of the build themselves, we can reduce the cost of owning your own home,’ he explained.

‘We’ve made land available for custom build on pilot schemes across England, and aim to give many more people the opportunity to design their own homes in the future,’ he added.

Lewis pointed out the Government will increase initiatives to further support the sector, with £350 million additional funding. A new flexible fund offering £1 billion in loan finance will replace both the Builder’s Finance Fund and the Custom Build Service Plots fund.

This is on top of a range of reforms to support small builders, including the measure in the Housing and Planning Bill which will require authorities to allocate suitable plots to prospective custom and self-builders registered in their area.