ZeroC has been appointed as the developer for 120 custom build homes at Trumpet Junction, part of the 1,250-home Park Prewett site. The large-scale housing development in Rooksdown, Basingstoke, is on the location of a former mental hospital, and is being brought on by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), with Taylor Wimpey developing the major portion of the volume element.
ZeroC has been selected to create a mix of custom homes with a range of designs, with purchasers being able to choose from a range of housing options to allow them to tailor their home to their needs. This is ZeroC’s first custom build project, but it hopes to incorporate the principles in its future developments, making it more accessible as a build route to a wider market.
It will be working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to achieve outline planning permission for the site, which will also include custom built flats.
Plans for the site include 44 plots to be allocated for affordable housing, and part of meeting this commitment to affordability involves allowing people to take on more of the share of the work to help reduce costs. In addition, a few entirely self-build plots are on offer for purchasers wanting to go it alone in order to maximise savings.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis referred to the scheme as a ‘pilot’ project for custom build, based on the fact that the previous Government had earmarked the site as a demonstration for shovel-ready plots and also due to the fact that affordability is a key factor in the plans. The intention is that this project will offer lessons to addressing some of the barriers to custom build, helping to make it more accessible in the future. “The Park Prewett pilot is a fantastic example of our commitment to double the number of custom build and self build homes by 2020 – so anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so,” he said.
He went on to say that the two most significant barriers to the sector are the access to land and finance, and Park Prewett reflects the Government’s commitment to bring on land supply for self and custom build.
Tackling the subject of finance, he also announced a new, flexible £1 billion fund in loan finance, which will eventually replace the Builder’s Finance Fund and the Custom Build Serviced Plots Loan fund. The new Housing Development Fund is expected to provide finance for up to five years, supporting delivery of 26,500 homes through to 2024-25.
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration Cllr Terri Reid said: “The council is very keen to work with partners to support innovative new opportunities which increase the supply of housing, particularly where they can give more people an opportunity to get onto the property ladder and add to the mix and variety of homes available.”
Photo: Park Prewett Hospital. Ross Penny/creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Custom build needs large scale projects such as Park Prewett. Small scale custom build is part of the diversification of the housing supply market, but what the sector needs to witness is the completion of several large-scale projects that will demonstrate the viability of the industry, and how to apply affordability on these sites. Park Prewett joins the likes of Graven Hill and Heartlands as an opportunity to see how this works in practise.