South Hams District Council (SHDC) has launched a grant scheme aimed at addressing the area’s housing crisis.

The South Hams Housing Offer will see SHDC provide funding to kick-start housing projects in areas most in need of affordable homes.

The local authority will liaise with registered social housing providers and Community Land Trusts (CLT) - of which there are eight in the South Hams - to offer practical pre-planning advice and financial support.

Landowners will also be encouraged to donate or sell land at a fair price to build the homes.

SHDC previously said the housing offer would “act as the glue between landowners and communities to explore sites which have housing development potential”.

SHDC is initially investing £100,000 in the scheme and will provide funding in the form of grants of up to £10,000 per group on a first come, first served basis.

Councillor Denise O’Callaghan, lead member of housing at SHDC, said the scheme “couldn’t come at a better time”.

She said: “Local people know their towns and parishes more than anyone, which is why we want to help them deliver housing where and how it’s needed most.

“We encourage those in the community, whether that be a new or already established group or landowner, to take advantage of the funding and practical support that we can offer.”

SHDC, which declared a housing crisis in 2021, owns a very small number of homes after the council’s stock (reportedly 3,000) was sold to the Tor Homes (now Livewest) housing association in 1999.

According to recent data, South Hams has the biggest affordability gap between property prices and annual income in the south west, while the latest Halifax price index shows that the average price for a property in the south west of England now stands at £295,399.

The housing offer initiative comes as homebuyers face increasing pressures from a cost-of-living crisis, soaring rental prices and a local housing market that has the highest proportion of holiday homes in the south west.

This is despite official data showing that 94.7 per cent of South Hams’ residents are registered as having only one address.

According to many housing experts, more new homes are needed on the market, citing the fact that England has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe.

More information on SHDC’s housing offer, including how to apply, can be obtained at