Tag Archives: self-build

Bunker Housing Co-op starts work on its first houses

An affordable, secure home is something that can seem out of reach for too low income many families in Brighton & Hove. But Bunker Housing Co-operative is making that dream a reality as it starts building its first two houses, in East Brighton. Bunker celebrated on Saturday 8 December, alongside its investors and supporters and members of Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT).

Bunker members are self-building their houses, with the help of architects, and other construction professionals. They are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. Run as a co-operative, the rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home. The co-operative will own the houses, which will be on a site leased from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Any residents will be members of the co-op and both landlords and tenants.

Watch this short video for more on the Bunker story

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Brighton families start work on self-build project costing £225,000 a house

15 November 2018

Photo opportunity: Bunker Housing Co-operative celebration event
Saturday 8 December 2018, 2.00-5.00pm. The Edge Community Centre, 83 Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton, BN2 9AE. Arrive by 2.15pm for the opportunity to see the Bunker site
on Plumpton Road, a five-minute walk away.
There will be food and drinks.

Bunker Housing Co-op has begun self-building its first affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families on its first site in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. The rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

Bunker encourages others to sign up to the Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register to show the demand for this kind of project in the city.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker have started building their homes using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

Martyn Holmes and his partner Agata Bogacka, who live in Brighton with their two children, co-founded Bunker with another family in 2014. They had spent five years trying to find ways to secure affordable housing in the city. The idea developed as they chatted with their neighbours over the garden fence. Living in damp, cramped and overpriced private rented accommodation, both families, despite working full time, were struggling and fed up with their housing situation.

Bunker have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). They have a 99-year lease and are making use of a difficult site that a commercial developer wouldn’t be attracted to. They are working with architects from AURAA Studio in London, who have experience in smaller sights, specialise in bespoke sustainable architectural design and most importantly understand and enjoy the challenge of working on community-led developments.

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is encouraging people who support projects like Bunker to join the local Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register with Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes.

People in England have the Right to Build, as set out by legislation announced in 2015 and updated in 2016. The Right to Build requires all councils to maintain a register of individual and groups of individuals who want to build their own home. It places a duty on them to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced building plots to meet demand on a rolling three-year basis.

BHCLT is a central resource for community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, including housing co-operatives, cohousing and self-build projects, developed through local people working together. Our work to support community-led housing is being supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund.

Bunker, whose members are low income, mostly self-employed people in Brighton & Hove, now have eight adult members, along with several children. They hope to acquire a second site soon, in order to expand their project and house more of their members, all of whom are currently living in private rented accommodation.

Martyn Holmes, Bunker co-founder and soon to be Plumpton Road resident said, “Bunker has given us a way out of the private rented sector which is increasingly unaffordable for so many people in Brighton. We believe that building our own community-led and owned housing is the best housing solution for our families and will allow us to stay in the city that we have helped to build. It’s been a tough journey in many ways, but it’s definitely been worthwhile, we are really excited to move into our new homes later this year and get cracking on the second site.”

Andrea Jones, Programme Manager for the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme said, “Bunker is such an inspiring project and shows what people can do when they work together.

“You don’t need to have construction experience to do something like this; there are building projects out there led by all sorts of people, including groups of women, and people with learning disabilities.  There is loads of support available through BHCLT and nationally. People have got to start signing up for the self-build register if they want to see things change. It shows the demand that is out there for self-build plots of land.”

Registration for the Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register can be done via their website at: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/general-housing/self-build-and-custom-housebuilding-register

More information about self-build community led housing and how to join the register can be found at: http://bit.ly/SelfBuildBH

For more information and to arrange local interviews with self-builders, or members of Bunker Housing Co-operative, contact Amy Hall, BHCLT Communications Officer on comms@bhclt.org.uk

 Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 280 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. Announced in 2016, a national Community Housing Fund of £60 million was shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT in October 2017, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.
  3. The ‘Right to Build’ places two legal obligations on Local Authorities in England:
    1. Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 all Local Authorities in England must keep a register of people and groups of people who are seeking to purchase serviced plots of land in the authority’s area and to have regard to that register when carrying out their functions. Registers were required from 1st April 2016.
    2. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 requires all Local Authorities in England to grant sufficient ‘development permissions’ to meet the demand for Custom and Self-build housing in their area, as established by their register, on a rolling basis. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 1 April 2016 to 31 October 2016 should be granted by 31 October 2019. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 31 October 2016 to 31 October 2017 should be granted by 31 October 2020 and so on.
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Bunker is on site! Time to celebrate

We are so excited that one of the housing co-operatives we have been working with as part of the Community-Led Housing Programme has started work on its first two houses. We will be celebrating on Saturday 8 December, 2.00pm at The Edge Community Centre in Brighton. Sign up at Eventbrite to join us.

Bunker Housing Co-op is a self-build co-operative, building affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families and individuals. Their first site is on Plumpton Road in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. They are due to be able to move in by summer 2019 with a rent of just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. They have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

Continue reading

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Planning and design for community-led housing – video

How can planning and design collaborate to improve opportunities for affordable housing in Brighton & Hove?

This was under discussion at this community-led housing focused workshop on Tuesday 19 June. It explored aspects of community-led housing design and planning, including small homes, ‘meanwhile use’ (making use of temporarily empty buildings and sites) and cohousing design.

The speakers were:

  • Daren Howarth (HUTEC designs, Earthship and Grand Designs) on small homes by choice.
  • Eddie Bridgeman (MeanwhileSpace Community Interest Company, London-based) on meanwhile use.
  • Jonny Anstead (TOWN, developer of Marmalade Lane Cohousing in Cambridge) on cohousing design & planning.

Watch the full workshop below:

(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the YouTube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle) Continue reading

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A guide to joining Brighton & Hove’s self-build and custom housebuilding register

As part of National Custom and Self Build Week 2018 (7-13 May), we are encouraging local people interested in community-led housing to join the local Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register.

The Right to Build requires all councils to maintain a register of individuals and groups of individuals who want to build their own home. It places a duty on them to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced building plots to meet demand on a rolling three-year basis.

Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes. Here’s what to do:

1. Check your eligibility for entry in the register. Are you:

  • aged 18 years or over
  • a British citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland
  • seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in Brighton & Hove City Council’s area to build a house to occupy as that individual’s sole or main residence
    In the case of groups wishing to register, the above criteria must be met by all members.

2. If you want to know more, have a look at the Brighton & Hove City Council self-build register website here.

3. Send an email to housing.strategy@brighton-hove.gov.uk and say you want to be on the register. You can apply as an individual or as part of a group of people. Include this info in the email:

If you applying as an individual

  • Your name, address and date of birth
  • Confirmation that you are a British / EEA or Swiss citizen
  • Confirmation you are applying as an individual

If you are applying as a group

  • Your name, address and date of birth
  • Confirmation that you are a British / EEA or Swiss citizen
  • Confirmation you are applying as part of a group
  • Supply the full individual information (the above three points) for all the group members.
  • Confirm the number of plots of land you might want to acquire.

4. Unless BHCC have any more questions you should now be on the register and receive a confirmation email like the one below:

Congratulations! You are now registered.

Find out more about self-build and the register here

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Brighton & Hove asserts its right to build affordable housing

7th May 2018

Community Land Trust promotes Self-build and Custom Housebuilding register as part of National Custom and Self Build Week

The National Custom and Self Build Week 2018 runs from 7-13 May, with a series of events celebrating and promoting Custom and Self-Build homes. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust is taking part by encouraging local people to join the local Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register with Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC). Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes. Currently there are less than 100 people on the self-build register in all of Brighton & Hove – most people who want to self-build do not know the register currently exists.

People in England have the Right to Build, as set out by legislation announced in 2015 and updated in 2016. The Right to Build requires all councils to maintain a register of individual and groups of individuals who want to build their own home. It places a duty on them to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced building plots to meet demand on a rolling three-year basis. By the end of the first full year base period National Custom and Self-build Association (NaCSBA)’s research revealed that 33,000 individuals had signed up to express their interest in buying a plot.

Michael Holmes, NaCSBA’s Chair, said: “NaCSBA believes that people commissioning or building their own home will play an increasingly important role in delivering the Government’s objective to build 300,000 new homes per year.

“Custom, Self Build and community-led housing will transform how housing is delivered in the UK.”

BHCLT is a central resource for community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, including housing co-operatives, cohousing and self-build projects, developed through local people working together. Our work to support community-led housing is being supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund.

Andrea Jones, Programme Manager for the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme said, “Self-build can be a great opportunity for local groups to develop affordable and stable housing for themselves. People shouldn’t be put off if they don’t have buildings skills or are not architects. There are many people across the country who have self-built their own homes and we have our own success story here in Brighton with the Bunker Self-Build Co-op who are about to go on site.

“Anyone who is interested in self-build should register BHCC’s self-build register. It’s really easy and it doesn’t mean you have to follow through and build but we need to show that the demand is out there.”

Registration for the Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register can be done via their website at: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/general-housing/self-build-and-custom-housebuilding-register

More information about self-build community led housing and how to join the register can be found at: http://bit.ly/SelfBuildBH

For more information and to arrange local interviews with self-builders contact Amy Hall and Ed Jones, BHCLT Communications Officers on comms@bhclt.org.uk

For information on the National Self Build Week and the National Custom and Self-build Association contact Duncan Hayes on 0771 400 4257 and media@nacsba.org.uk

Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 280 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. A national Community Housing Fund of £60 million has been shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.
  3. The National Custom and Self-build Association (NaCSBA) (www.nacsba.org.uk) issued a Freedom of Information request to all English Local Authorities on 1 November 2017 requesting the numbers of people and groups of people on their registers. It found that 33,000 had now signed up to the registers. This was based on the data supplied by more than three quarters of the authorities who responded. The remaining results were extrapolated based on the average of the responses received.
  4. The ‘Right to Build’ places two legal obligations on Local Authorities in England:
  • Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 all Local Authorities in England must keep a register of people and groups of people who are seeking to purchase serviced plots of land in the authority’s area and to have regard to that register when carrying out their functions. Registers were required from 1st April 2016.
  • The Housing and Planning Act 2016 requires all Local Authorities in England to grant sufficient ‘development permissions’ to meet the demand for Custom and Self-build housing in their area, as established by their register, on a rolling basis. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 1 April 2016 to 31 October 2016 should be granted by 31 October 2019. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 31 October 2016 to 31 October 2017 should be granted by 31 October 2020 and so on.

5. There are a number of national Custom and Self Build Week Activities taking place. Information can be found here: www.selfbuildportal.org.uk

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Self-build is a good way to build your own affordable housing and we can support you to do it!

Image from the Right to Build portal

Do you need more affordable housing? Are you in housing need? Ever thought about building your own home?

The Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust are encouraging as many people as possible to register on Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC) self/custom build housing register. Registration is currently free of charge, but it may not stay like this so we are asking people to sign up quickly. Information about how to register can be found on the council website and below.

Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes.

Registering does not mean you have to follow through and build – you can change your mind at a later stage. The important thing is that Brighton & Hove City Council will take account of demand on the Register when preparing its Local Plans. The registers can also be used to alert people on it when land is made available for Custom and Self-Build housing.

How do I register?

To register, follow the instructions on this page. We have also published a guide here.

PLEASE REGISTER AS SOON AS YOU CAN – THE REGISTRATION PROCESS IS NOT FREE IN SOME OTHER LOCAL AUTHORITIES SO GET REGISTERED FREE WHILST YOU CAN!

What is self build and custom build?

Self-build usually means that you are directly involved in the design and building of your home.

You could build your home:

  • Yourself
  • With the help of a contractor
  • With a group of other self-builders, sharing knowledge and expertise

Custom build usually means that you work with a specialist developer to design and build your home. It is more of a ‘hands off’ approach.

The developer could:

  • Help you find a plot
  • Build your home
  • Arrange finance for the cost of building your home

For more information watch an introduction to self-build for community-led housing groups. If you are in a self-build group and would like expert support to help realise your ideas, please email us at admin@bhclt.org.uk

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Introduction to self-build for community-led housing video

On Saturday 17 March, Mario Wolf (National Custom & Self Build Association, Right to Build Taskforce) and Martyn Holmes (Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op) & Raphael Lee (architect for Bunker Housing Co-op, Auraa Studio architecture) gave an introduction to self-build for community-led housing.

Mario Wolf discussed the Right to Build Task Force and the national self-build picture and what it means for community-led housing groups. Martyn Holmes & Raphael Lee talked about community self build and Bunker housing co-op collectively self-building their homes in Brighton. Watch the full workshop below

(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the youtube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle) Continue reading

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Introduction to self-build workshop

Are you considering building a community-led housing project from scratch? Join us for a free workshop on Saturday 17 March in Brighton.

Group self build schemes can result in significant cost savings – sometimes as much as 40%. It also means you can have a say in creating the wider community. If your community-led housing group is thinking about this option then join us to hear from:

Places are limited to 20 people. The deadline for registering is 14 March. Email admin@bhclt.org.uk to find out more and sign up.

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Community-Led Housing Programme launch video

If you missed the launch of our Community-Led Housing Programme on Wednesday 21 February, you can now watch all the speakers here.

The panel consisted of: Andrea Jones, Programme Manager; Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean; Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally; and Martyn Holmes of Brighton’s Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op

Watch the video of the presentations below. The slides are available to download underneath.

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Thinking about a mortgage? Sign up for our lending surgery

Representatives from four organisations which lend to community-led housing will be in Brighton to give groups advice.

Many community-led housing groups will need to apply for a mortgage, in order to finance their project. There are several lenders who specialise in this area and we are offering groups in Brighton & Hove the chance to speak to them and ask questions.

Both sessions run from 3.00pm until 6.00pm and you will need to contact admin@bhclt.org.uk to sign your group up for a slot during that time. Surgeries are available on a first come, first served basis so sign up quick!

These are the lender representatives who will be available:
Monday 5 March: Jon Lee, Ecology Building Society and Carolyn Sims, Charity Bank
Monday 19 March: Mark Ogden, Triodos and Sonya Powe, Unity Trust bank

Both sessions will take place at Brighton Junction, Isetta Square, 35 New England Street, BN1 4GQ

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Brighton & Hove shows it’s ready for more community-led housing

Brighton’s Brighthelm Centre was filled with around 200 people on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme.

With support from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is supporting local people who want to start their own community-led housing projects, including co-operatives, cohousing and self-build.

Community-led housing allows local people to take control of their housing and create alternatives to the limited choices offered by the current housing market. The new Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme supports groups of people to come together and organise, or build, their own affordable homes. Applications are open for financial support and free advice to help make people’s ideas a reality.

BHCLT Community-led Housing Programme includes:

  • Housing Ourselves: Financial support through loans or grants to housing groups.
  • Discovering suitable land and properties and helping groups acquire them for housing projects.
  • Connecting local people who want to start their own housing projects and providing them with expertise and support.
  • Raising awareness and building knowledge about housing with local people, the council and others who work in housing.

The event included the opportunity for people involved in community-led housing groups to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, paid tribute to city’s history of community-led housing: ‘In some respects I feel it’s national thinking that has caught up with Brighton & Hove,’ she said. ‘We have had an innovative and active community-led housing sector for many, many years and the provision of this funding through the DCLG has brought about the creation of this programme, through which we hope that more of the aspirations of this sector can be realised and more housing provided.’

Also speaking at the event was Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally. ‘Communities are spending huge amounts of their time trying to put together housing projects that nobody else will,’ he said. ‘The fact that people like you are here today is some kind of witness to the fact that policy and the market has failed so many people.’

The audience also hear directly from someone involved in a local success story, Martyn Holmes of Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op. He told the story of Bunker’s beginnings – two neighbours chatting over the garden fence, both living in private rented housing that they were struggling to afford and fed up with their housing situation. Along with their families, they are soon to start work on two modular houses in Brighton, making use of a small and difficult site that a big developer wouldn’t be attracted to.

For Bunker, part of the reason for choosing a self-build project was the money they would save. Martyn explained that group self-build schemes can result in cost savings of up to 40% or more.

Community-led housing is good for Brighton & Hove because:

  • It provides additional affordable and stable housing to those in need.
  • It creates and demonstrates alternative ways of living which have a positive impact on wellbeing.
  • It helps local people develop new skills as they make their projects a reality.
  • It encourages collaboration and co-operative between local people and involves them in decisions about new housing.
  • People have more say in how their homes are developed and managed.
  • It creates an opportunity to make use of empty buildings and vacant land, revitalising communities.

BHCLT is working with Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.

For more information contact Amy Hall and Ed Jones, Communications Officers with BHCLT on comms@bhclt.org.uk

Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 225 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. A national Community Housing Fund of £60 million has been shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside CHIBAH and MAIS.
  3. Community Land Trusts have developed over 700 permanently affordable units and will have developed a further 3,000 by 2020. Find out more at the National CLT Network website: http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/
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