Dover District Council is innovating in the Custom, Self Build and community-led housing sector with the announcement of its first Community-led Housing and Self Build Conference.

The Community-led Housing and Self Build Conference, held on 28 June at Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent, is free for delegates and exhibitors, and Dover District Council is looking to encourage a range of professionals operating in the sector to attend and network with people looking to create their own home.

The council already has over 150 people signed up to its Right to Build register and is looking to promote custom homes locally. This is both to those already registered but also to newcomers who are interested in finding out more about the Right to Build and what the registers can deliver locally.

The conference will include content for community groups, land owners, developers, consultants, with the Right to Build Task Force presenting on the day, explaining its work and how it can support the sector.

Community Housing Grants

The council will be using the conference to champion its new Community Housing Grants, which will support the delivery of local community-led housing schemes that offer a long-term benefit to the community.

The Community Housing Grants Scheme has £50k per annum available for the next two years to support community projects, with funding supplied through the Government’s Community Housing Fund.

The funding is available for community-led affordable housing developments

So far, 150 councils in areas affected by high-levels of second home ownership have been awarded funding via the Community Housing Fund, which to help tackle the issue of local affordability.

There are two levels of funding for different stages of a project, and groups are eligible to apply for one per year:

Up to £3k to assist in the early stages of a project – for groups to run consultation events, attend training, engage with consultants, identify a site, evidence housing need and demand.

Up to £10k for projects at a more advanced stage – for assistance with initiation costs such as surveys, feasibility studies, planning advice.

Community Development Officers will be on hand at the conference to assist with any community groups interested in applying for a grant.

Cllr James Back, DDC Cabinet Member for Built Environment, said: “We are delighted to be able to facilitate this conference. The event aims to increase awareness of community-led housing and Self-build, to increase knowledge and skills among our communities, to encourage local community led solutions to local housing needs, and to bring together communities, professionals, contractors and suppliers to deliver the homes.

“We are keen to ensure that any communities who are interested in delivering homes in the area have the knowledge they need to make this a reality, and we continue to develop housing options for the future of the district.”

To sign up to your Right to Build visit NaCSBA’s Right to Build Portal, which links people with their local registers.

The conference is on from 1.30-5pm, 28 June at Innovation House, Discovery Park, Sandwich, and is free to attend, but you must book in advance.

Credit: Dover by Dover City Council
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