On 5th August, Housing Minister Mark Prisk announced the fund, which will offer additional support to people with plans and ideas for their neighbourhood, from self-build homes to community shops.
The minister said the money will ensure that those wishing to realise their vision will no longer be put off building by the challenges of design and permissions.
Opening the door to more homes
Until now, the £17 million pot was earmarked solely to help Community Right to Build projects develop their proposals. But to ensure that local building plans can access the same support, whatever route they take, Mr Prisk has expanded the scheme to include any community project.
This means that communities who want to make a change in their area, such as creating a new playground, renovating an empty home or making plots available for house building will be able to access the money they need to develop plans and make it happen. The fund is available for communities outside London until March 2015.
Self builders will also be able to benefit from the fund by joining forces with local people to design and gain approval for the home they want. This pot is in addition to the £30million Custom Build Fund to help people get projects off the ground.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:
“From barn conversions to bungalows, anyone wanting to build new homes in their area should have the opportunity to do so. That’s why we’re opening the door to a £17million support fund which will help people navigate the early stages of any project.
Today’s cash will make it easier for aspiring self-builders and communities to get their projects off the ground, opening the door for hundreds of potential building projects across the country.”
Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency Andy Rose said:
“Funding to help community groups boost their capacity to apply for planning permission will be very welcome in our local neighbourhoods and communities.
The broadened scope of the programme is evidence of the government’s commitment to help community groups and parish councils to achieve the development that they want to see take place in their local areas.”
Deputy Mayor for Land and Housing, Richard Blakeway said:
“This wider approach has already gone down well in London where we’ve been working with this process for over a year. Opening up the fund to as wide a group as possible means it’s even easier for community groups to access the money they need to make positive changes in their neighbourhood and help deliver more affordable homes for the capital.
The move has support from a range of community organisations including the UK Cohousing Network, the National CLT (Community Land Trust) Network, the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and the National Self Build Association.”
Catherine Harrington from the National CLT Network said:
“The announcement today will be really welcome news to many community groups across England with aspirations to make their local area stronger and more resilient by developing much needed community-led homes or other assets. The community-led housing movement is ready to help community land trusts, cohousing groups, housing co-operatives and group self-builders get projects off the ground. Look out for a series of regional events on this funding in the Autumn, delivered in conjunction with Locality.”