Czero Developments’ The Leys site has become Shropshire’s first Custom Build project to receive development finance from Homes England’s Home Building Fund. The site, at Bishops Castle, sees Czero Developments bringing on nine serviced plots for Custom Build homes, and already has the majority of its plots reserved.
The Home Building Fund development finance has enabled Czero to commence site infrastructure work on the road, drainage and utilities in preparation to deliver the serviced plots.
Plot purchasers at The Leys are able to customise their homes under a design code agreed alongside the Planning Permission, with the option to either commission Czero to build the home or engage their own contractor to deliver a self-built home on the serviced plot.
Infrastructure works are due to be completed by April, with the first builds expected to start on site shortly afterwards.
So far there’s a mix of approaches, with one customer contracting their own builder for the consented design, while another has completely changed their design to create a Passivhaus build. Elsewhere, Czero is working on design and build for a couple of the plots on which it will deliver a timber frame home.
“We are planning to use the Home Building Fund again for our next Custom Build development. It is a little bit heavy on the legal compliance but it has met a real need with this form of lending. But overall it is good value funding, and Homes England understands Custom Build and the role it can play in housing delivery, particularly on smaller sites,” said Simon Linford, Director of Czero.
Chris Raybould, Senior Manager at Homes England, said: “The Home Building Fund is specifically designed to support small builders and Custom Builders, as well as larger builders and developers. Given that Custom Build schemes remain scarce in number, Czero Developments had found traditional development finance difficult to obtain, so we are pleased to have been able to work with them to help make this project a reality.”
Shropshire Council is one of the 11 original Vanguard councils, a status awarded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (then DCLG) to make them an authority prepared to support and pilot custom and self-build routes to housing. It’s currently working to bring its own London Road site to market.
Homes England’s Home Building Fund helps unlock or accelerate the delivery of residential and mixed-use housing developments, with a special focus on custom and self-build.