The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has outlined new government plans and funding to make it easier for people to build their own homes.
£150 million is being made available for the new ‘Help to Build’ scheme. The plans aim to ensure that self and custom home building can be a realistic option to get onto the housing ladder through lower deposit mortgages.
Lowering the required deposit will free up capital, so people can build the home that they want and need whether it’s a commissioned, made to order home, or a new design from scratch. The scheme will provide an equity loan on the completed home, similar to the Help to Buy scheme.
Made to order homes allow people to customise the home they want based on existing designs. This could include adapting a particular design to support a family’s requirements including for disabled or older people.
Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Building your own home shouldn’t be the preserve of a small number of people, but a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country. That’s why we are making it easier and more affordable – backed by over £150 million new funding from the government.
“The scheme we have launched today will help the thousands of people who’d like to build their own home but who’ve not yet considered it or previously ruled it out.
“Our plans will help get more people on to the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people’s needs like home working or caring for relatives, whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.”
Helping SME Builders
Self and custom build could deliver 30-40,000 new homes a year, making it a potentially significant contributor to the government’s housebuilding ambitions.
The scheme is also part of the government’s wider Plan for Jobs as the new plans will also benefit small building firms. SME builders account for 1 in 10 new homes.
The Prime Minister has commissioned Richard Bacon MP to lead a review on how we can scale up the delivery of self and custom build homes. The review will report its findings and recommendations in the summer.
The announcement follows the news that major lenders have signed up to the government’s new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme to help more people on to the housing ladder. Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and Natwest have launched mortgages under the scheme with Virgin Money following next month.
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of the National Custom and Self Build Association, said: “The Help to Build scheme is an important step towards greater customer choice for those with ambition, sound plans and smaller deposits.
“Custom and self build is about the homeowner having control over the design and specification of their project – enabling them to create the home they want, rather than the one someone else believes they would like.
“This scheme is all about delivering more and better homes, that more people aspire to live in and that communities are happier to see built.”
The government has also announced £2.1 million in fundingto help communities have a greater say in how their local area is developed. It’s hoped the fund will boost neighbourhood planning by giving additional support to local authorities in under-represented areas.
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area.
England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for people in later life, Anchor Hanover, has been chosen to deliver the UK’s first purpose built and co-produced LGBT+ housing scheme.
The project, in Whalley Range, south Manchester, (the site was formerly a Spire Hospital) will deliver more than 100 apartments for people aged 55 or over, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures.
Anchor Hanover’s Extra Care housing schemes have essential services on-site for their residents, such as care and catering, which help their communities continue to live independently as their needs and lifestyle change.
The Russell Road facility is being developed in collaboration with a local Community Steering Group – made up of members of the council, councillors, local residents and importantly members of the LGBT Foundation.
Anchor Hanover was selected to develop the scheme after demonstrating their experience in delivering similar projects, including New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton, and showed an ambition to create a facility that meets the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people in Manchester.
Subject to Anchor Hanover Board approval, the organisation will invest approximately £20m to develop the facility.
Anchor Hanover currently has 110 housing locations in Greater Manchester as well as a large programme of retirement developments across England.
The housing provider’s head of new business, Charles Taylor, said: “We’re delighted to be working on this innovative new Extra Care retirement housing project in Manchester, to deliver accessible homes in a place where there is a thriving LGBT+ community.
“We look forward to collaborating with Manchester City Council and the LGBT Foundation to develop a place where people can continue to love living in later life.”
Manchester’s older LGBT+ population is growing. There are more than 7000 people in Manchester over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT+ and this figure is expected to rise over the next two decades.
An LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by Manchester City Council, indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT+ older people, experience and fear of discrimination in existing accommodation and a desire for affordable, accessible LGBT+ specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity in later life.
Paul Martin OBE, CEO of the LGBT Foundation added: “It’s fantastic to see the LGBT Extra Care Scheme move forward into the next stages of development. Everyone deserves access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel secure and welcome.
“Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life.
“This scheme is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities and the Learning Journal will track our journey and share recommendations for other schemes that will follow.”
An online Learning Journal has been created to track the journey of the development of Manchester’s LGBT+ Extra Care scheme, starting from the early discussions over five years ago.
It’s hoped that the journal will give other regions an insight into what has worked and what can be done differently as they plan their own housing solutions for older LGBT people.
Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City council’s lead member for adult health and well-being, said: “Manchester was proud to be the first place in the country to announce such a scheme so it’s great to see this scheme come to fruition. Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT+ people.
“We’ve been working closely with the LGBT Foundation and local people for some time to ensure the site, location, the principles of the scheme, and eventual design principles work – both for the LGBT+ community, but also for the local people in Whalley Range.
“We already know LGBT+ people are more likely to be lonely later in life, and as this community is growing, it shows that this extra care is not only welcome but absolutely needed.”
One in five charities (19%) are weighing up moving to a smaller office in light of Covid-19.
Slightly less, 17%, are considering closing some or all of their offices, 7% might move to a shared office building with a partner organisation, while 37% are thinking about having staff working remotely full-time.
The need to change how and where companies and their employees work has been felt in every area of business since the beginning of the pandemic. A report from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical is highlighting the way in which the charity sector has been impacted, and how they have adapted in a bid to survive.
The report shows that loss of funding is front and centre of charities’ concerns for the immediate future with over half, 55%, putting it as the main threat for the next 12 months. 34% think it will continue to be a serious risk to their operations for the next three years, while 14% see it as a long-term (five year) issue.
Funding has plummeted in many areas of the sector due in part to temporary shop closures during lockdowns, necessary cancellation of events and fundraisers and social distancing rules making face-to-face fundraising practically impossible. While some charities have been able to access emergency funding, the report asks how these organisations will fare once such grants stop.
Digging into the loss of funding issue further, the survey questioned respondents ‘how long, if at all, do you expect your charity’s money reserves to last?’ Worryingly 48% answered a year or less, 12% of which stated only ‘up to three months’.
Covid-19: Changing to survive
Like most other sectors, charities have had to change how they work to be able to continue to operate and provide a service throughout the pandemic. Ecclesiastical’s report, Charity Risk Barometer 2020, shows, since March 2020, 83% of charities switched to digital methods of working (e.g. video calls, social media, etc), while 52% have adapted to working with the use of social distancing and PPE.
Ecclesiastical’s charity niche director Angus Roy recognised the willingness to adapt as a positive for a sector beset with challenges as a result of the pandemic.
“Covid-19 has challenged us in ways we’ve never experienced before, but it has also given us a chance to be bold and seize on new opportunities,” he said.
“Be that moving to all staff working from home, downsizing or sharing space with partners.
“The sector has adapted to meeting the needs of its users while changing how it works – which is no mean feat and should be applauded. It is no surprise that thoughts have been turned to how charities can evolve by adapting the way they operate, including the spaces they work from.
“While the continuing threat of a loss of funding plus huge demand continues to drive much of the sector’s decision making – charities have been presented with a unique opportunity to review what works for them and in doing so future proof their organisation.”
The Charity Risk Barometer 2020report is based on an in-depth survey of 252 senior charity leaders carried out by YouGov on behalf of Ecclesiastical in August 2020.
The Off-Site Homes Alliance (OSHA) currently consists of 18 registered housing providers across the north of England: Bernicia, Bolton at Home, Gentoo, Great Places Housing Group, The Guinness Partnership, Irwell Valley Homes, Jigsaw, Mosscare St Vincent’s, One Manchester, Ongo, Riverside, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, South Yorkshire Housing Association, Stockport Homes, Thirteen Group, Together Housing, Trafford Housing Trust, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Your Housing Group and Yorkshire Housing Group.
The group, along with other supporting partners, are collaborating to deliver “high quality affordable homes across the north, using 2d and 3d MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) /Offsite technologies.”
What is off-site construction?
The term is used when the whole or part of a build is done away from the location of the site, usually in a specially designed factory. Modules or components are then transported to the site.
The alliance plans to work with off-site technologies and the off-site supply chain to deliver its target of circa 9,000 homes per annum from 2023 onwards across the north.
OSHA says this “coordinated approach will provide sustainable options, at low risk and with a controlled mass customisation catalogue of designs for alliance partners and for a review of a JV opportunity as and when required in the latter phases of the programme.”
The alliance is being lead by project director Mike Ormesher, previously head of innovation and technical at modular housing specialist, Top Hat. Coordinated by Ormesher, the alliance is currently focused on completing a business case and setting up operational governance and road mapping.
Speaking with website Inside Housing Ormesher said: “The first objective of the alliance is to understand the robust systems out there, to stress-test them on sites and to aggregate the demand across all of the registered providers involved, so that suppliers aren’t looking to come in and do five houses or three houses because pilot projects are a nightmare for manufacturers to manage within their environment.”
In an interview with Construction Manager magazine, Pete Bojar, executive director of growth and assets at Great Places said: “OSHA provides the opportunity for housing associations to drive and support the development of the off-site homes industry, leaving behind the endless ‘pilot projects’ culture to secure strong supply chain partnerships for the future.”
OSHA currently have 75 supply chain partners registered on their purchasing system and are evaluating 36 off-site technologies.
The green light has been given for Transport for London (TfL) and Barratt London’s second joint venture. Brent Council has approved their proposal for 454 new homes by Wembley Park London Underground station.
The new development, which covers a 1.6-acre site, will include 40% affordable housing, a retail unit, improvements to public spaces and new operational space for TfL.
Designed by TateHindle architects, the new homes will be delivered across five buildings and will be a mixture of studio, one, two and three-bedroom properties.
The affordable homes will be offered as a combination of intermediate housing, such as shared ownership, and London Affordable Rent.
To help improve air quality in the capital and in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, the development will be car-free for residents, with the exception of blue badge parking. The proximity of Wembley Park station, serviced by both the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines as well as a number of bus routes, enables the residents to more easily make the switch from driving to public transport. It’s also hoped the provision of cycle parking within the development will encourage residents to cycle when making journeys.
With green and biodiverse roofs, the planting of new trees and hedges, as well as wildlife-friendly landscaping such as bird boxes and bee bricks included as part of the scheme, the designs aim to positively enhance the local environment.
The development will also use renewable forms of energy through solar panels and air source heat pumps. The homes have been designed to encourage natural light within them and reduce energy usage; 70% of the homes are dual aspect and the remainder have been designed to ensure that they are not north facing.
Emma Hatch, senior property development manager at TfL, said: “We are thrilled to get the go-ahead for our development at Wembley, which will deliver hundreds of new homes as well as a new retail opportunity and improvements for the local community.
“This is the second project with Barratt London and builds on our track record for delivering much-needed new homes in the capital. Our first homes at Blackhorse View in Waltham Forest started selling earlier this year, showing our developments have been designed thoughtfully with both the community and residents in mind.”
The Wembley Park scheme forms part of TfL’s housing programme, which aims to provide 10,000 homes across the capital as well as a commitment to deliver 50% affordable housing on average across all sites brought to the market since May 2016.
TfL launched their Property Partnership Framework in 2016, which provides a pool of partners eligible to bid to work with TfL in joint ventures as sites become available.