An online register for people interested in creating their own ideal homes has been launched by Sheffield City Council this week.
This comes after, in September, it was announced that the council is the only authority in the region to have been awarded “vanguard” status for the Right to Build Government pilot scheme – which aims to make it easier for people who would like to build their own homes to get their projects off the ground.
This week, an online custom build register went live, where people can let Sheffield City Council know about the sort of home they would like to build, let the authority know they are looking for a plot of land, and be kept up to date with further information. The register also enables the council to assess the demand for custom build in the city.
To sign up to the custom build register, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/custombuild and follow the link.
A public information event is also set to be held at Sheffield Town Hall next Saturday, 22 November, at which people can learn more about the Right to Build scheme.
The aim of the event is to outline the council’s approach and give potential builders a chance to find out about how custom build works and get inspiration for their own projects.
It will consist of formal talks, followed by more in-depth seminars and a ‘marketplace’ where people can meet local groups along with developers, architects and suppliers of custom build products. There will also be a list available of Sheffield City Council-owned sites.
Councillor Harry Harpham, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield is a city where creativity and independence thrive, so it is only fitting that our Right to Build bid was successful and we are one of the Government’s 11 vanguard councils.
“I hope that this scheme will empower people to custom build the homes that they want, by getting the help, advice and contacts that they need.
“I also hope that, by driving the scheme forward, we can establish a real and viable alternative to the usual types of housing delivery available in the city, as custom build homes are often cheaper, greener, more affordable and more innovatively designed than standard market housing.”
As one of only 11 vanguard authorities in the country, Sheffield City Council is doing a range of things to make custom build housing in the city a possibility for more people.
These include a range of measures to help prospective custom builders, including providing information on the custom build process; opening a register for people looking for land; identifying council-owned sites that are suitable for custom build and making them available for purchase, and working with partners to promote and enable custom-build housing.
The concept of custom build covers a wide range of building projects, from a single family wishing to build their own home (self-build) to a group of people who would like to buy some land and build a number of houses using an architect and builder.
It also includes cohousing developments, where a group of people choose to live in a development where each has their own house, but there is also a communal house with shared facilities and a community ethos at its heart.
Partners already involved with the scheme include the University of Sheffield, BuildStore Ltd, the Sheffield Housing Company and the Sheffield Cohousing Network.
Cllr Harpham added: “Many people are familiar with unusual Grand Designs-style houses, but many custom build houses look just like any other newly built house.
“The advantage is that the people and families who are going to live in the houses have been able to customise the space to suit their own needs.
“This can be done in a number of ways, from contracting an architect to design your dream home to taking an existing house design and modifying it by adding extra bedrooms, increasing the size of the living room or increasing the window size.
“Custom build gives communities a real chance to influence the homes in which they live, and this scheme will make it a more attractive and realistic option for far more people.”
Raymond Connor, chief executive at Buildstore Ltd, added: “We are delighted to be working with Sheffield City Council and supporting partners to deliver custom build to the people of Sheffield.
“We are keen to convey that it is possible to build an affordable home of your dreams and stay within the local community.
“Based on the interest received to date, we are confident that the public information day will be a great success.”
To find out more about next week’s custom build public information day, and to sign up for the event, register online at www.buildstore.co.uk/sheffield