Local households will be able to bid to build their own home on a small parcel of Council land in an innovative challenge, a first for Hackney Council.

The Self-Build Challenge will give individuals and families in Hackney the chance to submit an application proposing an innovative and environmentally-friendly home design on a pre-designated site. This makes use of plots of land too small for Council-led schemes while ensuring these sites still contribute to tackling the housing shortage in the borough.

The plans, which aim to give priced-out families a secure home and a different way onto the housing ladder, were approved by the Council’s Cabinet last night (Monday 20 July). 

More than 250 people have already signed up to the Council’s Self-Build Register – demonstrating a clear interest and desire for self-build options. To be eligible, bidders must:

  • Have a local connection to Hackney, through living, working or studying in the borough
  • Not already own a home
  • Have a total household income of less than £90,000. 

Applications will open in September, but applicants can register their interest now at hackney.gov.uk/self-build

Hackney faces an unprecedented housing crisis with nearly 13,000 families on the Council’s housing waiting list – 3,000 of them in accommodation that is meant to be temporary, like hostels and B&Bs. In response, Hackney Council are building thousands of genuinely affordable homes for residents who desperately need them, acting as its own developer on its own land in partnership with local people. 

However, the scale of demand means many families will never be eligible for a Council home, and the Council is determined to provide a mix of opportunities for families – especially those trapped paying ever-increasing rents to private landlords – to obtain a secure home.

The pilot is structured to help the successful applicants secure external finance for their build, and also to ensure that when they move on, the property remains affordable – with the Council retaining an equity stake. This pilot therefore provides a way of delivering an intermediate housing option on disused plots of land, that will benefit households both now and in the future.

Self-Build is one of a number of innovative solutions Hackney has developed in response to the housing crisis. Other initiatives include the Mayor of Hackney’s Housing Challenge Fund, which uses money from Council homes sold under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme to help housing associations build more homes for social or living rent and Hackney Living Rent which provides private renters the ability to rent modern new homes at a rent based on average incomes rather than property prices.

For more information, visit www.hackney.gov.uk/self-build

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