Local Authorities are already required to ‘identify and meet the needs’ of people seeking to self build under the Localism Act 2012. The Coalition Government has since announced the intention to introduce a new Right to Build requiring local authorities to provide a serviced plot for self builders (backed by a £150 million support fund for local authorities and £30 million Custom Build (loan) Fund). On 2nd July further measures to strengthen the delivery of the new Right to Build wewre launched with the invitation to local authorities to apply to join a ‘vanguard’ programme to pioneer support for self/custom build projects.
Update: Nov 2014.
Of the 11 announced vanguards: Sheffield City Council and South Cambridge Council are both supporting the development of cohousing projects. Amongst the other 11 vanguard authorities there are interesting proposals emerging that will see the planning system used more effectively to release sites. More information can be found here.
Could this be the nudge your local authority needs to implement the support/measures required to get your cohousing project off the ground? Local authorities can apply for funding in the programme to support the costs of:
• Opening, publicising and operating a self build register;
• Managing the process of disposing of a local authority’s own surplus landholdings (where the local authority wishes to do so);
• Finding and securing plots on other land (this does not include the cost of land acquisition);
• Managing the process of making plots available, including securing planning permission and (where desirable) preparing a design code; and
• Compiling information to share with DCLG about the operation of the vanguards.