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Last Plot Sold in Anglesey Self-Build Affordable Housing Scheme

 Affordable Housing self build scheme using Council owned land sold at a discount.

Providing affordable housing for local people using Council owned land was the intention of the self-build plot scheme in Llangefni, Anglesey.    Eligible applicants were able to purchase a plot at 25% of the market value with the remaining 75% deferred as a Legal Charge on the land value to be repaid in the future should the property be sold outright.   In addition a charge of £3,000 was also deferred to cover the cost of architectural services, planning and building control and administrative costs.  The Council’s appointed architects provided standard plans and architectural services and managed the site once building had commenced.

There was an initial high demand for the scheme and the first nine plots were sold within the first 12 months.  However, the credit crunch of 2007 caused considerable problems because the scheme combined self-build with affordable housing conditions.   Effectively, none of the banks would lend on the scheme unless the property was built to roof level.  In addition, lenders would no longer lend on the scheme with a 75% deferred charge on future land value.

In response Anglesey County Council arranged a loan scheme to enable applicants to build to roof level and amended the scheme to a Legal Charge based on a 20% market value discount on the property to eligible applicants should the house be sold in the future.   The initial cost of the plot could now be used to start the build with the loan available if required to reach the level of build specified by the mortgage lender.  At that stage, the self-builder would draw down the mortgage to pay for the plot, repay any loan and finish the build. 

It has been a very bumpy ride at times and the scheme is not without its critics, mainly due to the size of the properties.  However, the homes have been built with a long term view and the self-builders have taken great pride in producing a home of quality that most hope to live in for many years to come.   Should any of the properties be sold outright (it is not an exception site), 20% of the sale price will be paid into the Authority’s affordable housing account to be recycled.  

As Rural Housing Enabler I am often asked whether there are opportunities for self-build in rural communities and with affordable housing a priority for the Local Authority I am hopeful that more land will be allocated in the future.   The housing market and economic climate have changed since this scheme was launched and no doubt any future schemes will be different, and other options such as land trusts and co-operatives will need to be considered.  However, there is no doubt that given the right circumstances, including land and financing, self-build is a good option for rural communities.