One of the most exciting procurement routes of custom build housing is Community Led Custom Build. Join others to collectively bring forward new housing as you wish it to be.
Community Custom Build is somewhat unique in the sense that the custom build sector and the developments wherein are largely facilitated by an enabler or developer, however there are now great examples of people coming together as a group of future homeowners to do much of the enabling works and funding themselves to bring forward a collective or community custom build development. In these cases, developers are often used for technical support, but the decision making for the scheme is managed by the group.
Independent Community Custom Build
These developments are varied, both in scale and also in the level of enabling work people will be expected to get involved with. Some developments are 'pay to enter' schemes where a group of leaders have agreed to undertake the enabling work but wish to facilitate a larger scheme. More people can get involved by paying into the development fund which will be used to facilitate actions such as planning applications or infrastructure. In return, contributors receive a plot which is usually much more affordable than if they had to buy it once planning was established.
There are some community led schemes which are even more collective where people can help others build their own homes and vice versa. They can even buy materials together to keep costs to a minimum, and in some cases, the group can decide to build communal areas around the development such as electric car ports or allotments which often appeal to those wishing to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Co-Housing & Cooperative Custom Build
There are a number of projects springing up across the Country, where groups of people are thinking differently about how they want to - and at times need to live. They are coming together to facilitate custom build using a co-housing model to deliver development which promotes a cooperative lifestyle. It is a custom build model which is often associated with creating more attractive and affordable homes in areas where it has become very hard for people on modest incomes to get a foothold on the property ladder. Or in recent times, in sectors which are especially niche, such as housing for the elderly, where a sense of community and shared responsibility while maintaining privacy when appropriate can significantly raise people's standard of living. It is also being used as an innovative way to re-develop areas which require regeneration, and in many cases local residents are forming development groups and are being given access to public grants and professional support to help them learn new skills to empower them and those in their community to re-develop their area to suit them, and in doing so it can often improve their personal and professional circumstances.
This custom build model is similar to that of Independent Community Custom Build, however the schemes are often master planned to feature a more concentrated focus on shared living areas, areas of shared responsibility such as laundry rooms, cinema rooms, gardens and leisure facilities which mean the independent living spaces are smaller but the upkeep of the communal areas is shared - usually through a management company.
Register your interest in Community Build on the Right to Build Register. The Right to Build Register is a new digital platform connecting every local planning authority with individuals and community groups that are interested in building or commissioning their own homes. Local Planning Authourities will look to make sites availanble to meet the demand in their area.
We are beginning to see a number of community projects come to fruition. If you are thinking about involving yourself in a community led custom build development or you would like to find like-minded people and help facilitate development we would love to hear from you.
Images credited to Bright Green Futures & The Triangle Housing Project