Tricky development sites are to get access to funding for site preparation and infrastructure with the launch of the £75m brownfield land release scheme today.

The money includes £25m allocated to fund self and custom build projects which can be on both brown and greenfield land.

Right to Build Task Force acting head Mary Elkington said: “We encourage as many councils as possible to apply. This will make a genuine difference to those authorities working to deliver a more diverse route to delivering high-quality housing.

“Support for replicable exemplars of this innovative route to housing helps in scaling up custom and self-build. These sites will showcase the wide range of benefits that custom and self-build can deliver, complementing wider housing delivery.”

The fund, coordinated by One Public Estate, is inviting local authorities to bid for funding for projects before 2 June. The dedicated custom and self-build scheme provide capital grant funding to bring forward local authority land for housing development.

Custom builders will be better placed to take on difficult sites

The Right to Build Task Force, which receives government funding, argues this will give proactive councils the chance to prioritise potentially unviable sites for custom and self-build projects.

Chief planner Joanna Averley, in her February newsletter to councils, said: “Self and custom builders are well placed to build high quality, well-designed homes that are energy-efficient, accessible, affordable and welcomed by their communities.”

Funding is available for site levelling, preparation and groundworks, small scale infrastructure, highway works for access, addressing environmental constraints and providing services to plots.

Master bridging brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were keen to support custom and self-build initiatives and the new fund should make it easier for such projects to get off the ground.

Earlier government measures to support self and custom build include tightening up of right to build legislation and publishing local council plot permissions to create evidence of self and custom build activity.

In January, the government announced support for the compulsory purchase of unused public sector land under ‘right to regenerate’ proposals. It is also about to launch a new help to build equity loan scheme to help more people pursue custom and self-build housing.

The National Federation of Builders said self and custom build was integral to meeting true housing need. It wants the government to enshrine self and custom build targets in local authorities’ five-year land supply with targets linked to the number of people on each council’s self-build register.

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