A multi-million-pound support package to deliver thousands of discounted homes has been launched by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP.
Volunteer groups will be able to apply for between £10,000 and £50,000 to help identify suitable sites for discounted homes, get planning permission for them and to provide other technical support. Further free specialist advice and guidance will also be made available for those who participate in the pilot.
The Government will be making £8.5m available for the three-year pilot project which will help provide cut-price homes for younger people and families in need of housing, through locally-led neighbourhood plans.
Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “Supporting volunteers who are passionate about building more of the homes we need in their communities is something I’m fully behind, and I want to see far more people getting involved across England.
“This funding is on top of the £26m already available to help get neighbourhood plans over the line, which act as powerful tools for communities to be involved in the planning of their local area — providing different housing types for those who need new homes.”
Discounted homes are properties built for people to buy at affordable rates, allowing them to secure mortgages in areas of the country where they are currently locked out of the market by high prices. For example, a three-bed home from the Cornwall Community Land Trust was recently sold at a discount for local people, for a price of £160,000, which is compared to an average property price in the county of over £230,000.
The fund forms part of a wider package of measures and targeted investment to produce more homes, building on ongoing government action to achieve a system which delivers 300,000 properties a year by the mid 2020s.
Responding to MHCLG’s announcement that £8.5m will fund pilots supporting community groups to build discounted homes, Local Government Association Housing Spokesman Cllr Martin Tett, said: “The Government’s announcement of £8.5m is a positive step and will support some communities to take forward the delivery of discounted homes in their area.
“It is important that local community groups receive the encouragement and support to ensure they work with councils so that the right people get the right support. However, in order to tackle the national housing shortage councils also need to be empowered to build more affordable, good-quality homes at scale, and fast.
“By recently lifting the borrowing cap on councils to invest in new and existing housing, the Government showed it had heard our argument that councils must be part of the solution to the housing crisis. In order to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes, councils now also need to be able to keep 100% of Right to Buy receipts to ensure they can replace any homes sold.
“A genuine renaissance in council housebuilding is the only way to boost housing supply, help families struggling to meet housing costs, and tackle the housing waiting lists many councils have.”