08 Sep 2017

Alok Sharma backs custom build at Graven Hill’s official plot shop opening

Alok Sharma backs custom build at Graven Hill’s official plot shop opening

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma has officially opened Graven Hill’s plot shop, the UK first dedicated high-street space for selling serviced plots to consumers.

The plot shop will sell plots and customised home design to the public, a convenient off-site presence deliberately focussed at high-street footfall to showcase the 1,900-home development to a larger consumer base.

The shop acts as a marketing suite for Graven Hill, allowing people to access land, expert and finance advice for potential home-movers. It’s a tool for pioneering self-build and custom build as a mainstream choice for aspiring home owners.

Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma said: “We need to get creative with how we build our housing in this country, to deliver more of the right homes in the places people want to live.

“With the opening of the UK’s first ‘plot shop’, the journey to building your own home can now start on the high-street.

“As confirmed in our Housing White Paper, we are committed to doubling the number of custom and self build homes by 2020 – so that anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so.

“Through diversifying the housing market in this way, we can give people greater choice over the homes they live in – whether that’s buying on the open market or by commissioning and building their dream home.”

Karen Curtin, Managing Director of Graven Hill said: “The shop’s town centre location has proven to be integral to its success since our soft launch this summer. We invite anyone thinking of building or customising their next home to visit the shop for an informal chat on the options available or arrange a visit to site.

“The official opening of the shop is significant, not only because the government is recognising the importance of our unique development, but because we are also able to announce that purchasers opting for a Tailored Finish home may be able to access the Governments Help to Buy scheme.

“Graven Hill is pioneering in the sense that for the first time, new home-buyers have the flexibility to choose between building their own house and custom designing one that meets their individual requirements.

“To date, over 81% of plots released in Phase 1a have been sold and over the course of the next ten years, Graven Hill will become a community of 1,900 properties.

“We are still at the beginning of our journey but with the first occupations imminent there has never been a more exciting time to be involved with self and custom building.”

Peter Rogerson, Virgin Money’s Director of Mortgages said: “The custom build market is a really exciting area of new house building that offers significant growth potential, providing a supply of high-quality homes specifically designed to buyers’ individual requirements.

“Virgin Money is committed to helping more people achieve their dream of home ownership and we are proud to be the only mainstream mortgage lender offering a custom build proposition.

“We worked closely with the team at Graven Hill to develop our proposition, and we are delighted to see the new ‘plot shop’ open to highlight to potential buyers the attractive opportunities available to them.”

Editor’s comment

Bicester town centre’s plot shop is an innovative first for the UK, but it’s based on a highly successful Dutch model that helped transform custom build in the Netherlands, which was doubled in three years. Continued Government support together with a mainstream lender offering consumer finance is a huge endorsement of the route.

What’s needed though is for all custom build to be able to access Help to Buy, or a comparable offering, that would level the playing field somewhat between custom build developers and volume builders.

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