Grant Shapps has announced a new £30 million fund for self build groups that will enable them to bid for cash to part-fund land and development costs. He’s also announced that architect Kevin McCloud has been appointed by the National Self Build Association as an industry champion.
Shapps’ self-build cash to part fund land and development costs
Mr McCloud – presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs – is accompanying Shapps as he leads a UK trade delegation to the Netherlands, to see what lessons can be learnt from the highly successful Dutch self-build industry. mMr Shapps said he will shortly be launching the fund to provide short-term finance for projects similar to those at Almere, near Amsterdam – the largest low-cost self-build experiment in Europe – where groups of self-build homes are built at the same time.
Self-build groups will soon be able to bid for a slice of the cash to part fund land acquisition and early development costs with money being repaid on completion of the project. Mr Shapps is also writing to lenders highlighting the strong business case for lending to self-builders. Citing recent surveys by the Building Societies Association, Mr Shapps said that 53 per cent of those asked would be interested in building their own home – while almost two thirds of those said they would like to begin building within the next two years.
In his letters to lenders, Mr Shapps also highlighted a new ‘toolkit’ prepared by the Building Societies Association, which will provide information and advice to lenders looking to expand into this growing self-build market. Me Shapps said: “The self-build industry is riding the crest of a wave, with more people than ever wanting control over the design and build of their home. But despite this self-build surge, we continue to lag behind the rest of the world. I am determined to change this so anyone who wants to embark on a self-build project has the opportunity to do so.
“That’s why I am delighted Kevin McCloud has agreed to represent the industry – championing the cause of existing and aspiring self-builders across the country, and raising the issues and concerns that matter most to them. “Together we will travel with a UK trade delegation to the Netherlands to learn from the leaders in low-cost self-build, and to boost trade links between British and Dutch businesses. Self-build is good news for the economy – so I’m writing to lenders and encouraging them to use their own industry’s toolkit to see how they can lend to those who want to build their own homes and expand into this growing market.”
Kevin McCloud said: “In the past we have built some of the poorest performing, most expensive and smallest homes in Europe. That’s not something to celebrate. “But there is another way. What if we became a nation of self builders like the Dutch? What if each household in the UK had the option to build their own place? What if large-scale developers provided finished-slab, fully-serviced sites for homebuilders? “We’d see more customised homes that reflect where they are, to higher space standards and to a better quality. We’d see people sharing skills and saving money. We’d see neighbours working together on community self build schemes and local construction economies thriving. And we’d certainly see more energy efficient buildings and a wider embracing of green technologies.
“Self build is seen as a long, difficult and self- sacrificing process. But with the right planning, help and support it can be enjoyable and – on collective schemes – empowering.” Chairman of the National Self Build Association Ted Stevens said: “Kevin is a fantastic ambassador for the self build sector, and we’re delighted he has agreed to become our champion. He has a real enthusiasm to see new types of self build happen in the UK – and I know he shares our interest in the innovative developments that are taking place in Continental Europe – particularly in the Netherlands and Germany. There are many lessons to be learnt from here that could have a huge impact if we applied some of them in the UK.
“We’re also delighted that he’s agreed to record a short welcome video for the new self build portal that the industry has just launched. This should be up and running in the next few days. The portal explains – in a very independent way – all the different ways of undertaking a self build project and helps would-be self builders figure out the best way of tackling a project for the money they have available.”