The building of homes by individuals for themselves to live in is self-build housing. Alternatively, individuals may decide to create or specify a bespoke design for the home they will live in and have it constructed for them: this is custom housebuilding. In addition, custom and self-build housing may be developed by groups of such people working together. These types of development, taken together, form the category of custom- and self-build homes. It provides an alternative to purchase of a new home designed and built by a housing developer.
National government policy seeks to promote custom- and self-build housing. The National Planning Policy Framework requires councils to consider the needs for custom- and self-build housing as part of the overall housing mix. Legislation has been introduced in the form of the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, and subsequent amendments and Regulations.
The Council’s policy is to promote custom-and self-build housing. The adopted Fylde Local Plan to 2032 Policy H2 includes a section specifically devoted to custom- and self-build housing. The Policy states:
Custom and Self-build Homes
Proposals to include plots for custom- and self-build homes within larger housing development sites will be approved, subject to compliance with other requirements of the plan with respect to layout, density, mix and access. Developers of strategic housing sites will be encouraged to devote a proportion of the site to provide serviced plots for custom- and self-build homes.
Applications to provide serviced plots for custom- and self-build homes on small sites (of fewer than 10 dwellings) will be supported where the site is located in accordance with Policy DLF1, subject to compliance with other policies of the plan.
Wherever custom- and self-build homes are proposed, they should be well-designed, in accordance with Policy GD7.
The Council regularly grants planning permissions for the development of a single home on a site, either on a new plot or on a plot where the previous dwelling will be demolished. Most planning permissions suitable for custom and self-build housing will not have been originally proposed specifically for this. For instance, almost all sites where outline planning permission is granted for a new dwelling provide the opportunity for the site to be developed in bespoke fashion for the first occupier. In addition, where a full planning permission is granted for a site, again this will either be for a bespoke dwelling for the applicant to occupy, or will offer the opportunity for a purchaser to buy the site prior to development and submit their own plans to the Council for a bespoke dwelling. Those interested in acquiring a serviced plot should therefore consider, at the outset, sites granted planning permission for housing, and approach the site owners. The Council publicises all planning permissions granted on its website through the weekly and monthly lists of decisions: https://www3.fylde.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=weeklyList
The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) requires that all local authorities must keep a register of individuals and associations of individuals who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land for their own self-build and custom housebuilding.
The Duty As Regards Registers, mandated by the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, requires that the Council must have regard to its register when carrying out its functions relating to planning, housing, the disposal of any land of the authority and regeneration.
The Duty To Grant Planning Permission, mandated by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, requires that the Council must give suitable development permission in respect of enough serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding in the authority’s area arising in each base period.
It is important that potential applicants understand that the Council does not itself provide sites for those on the register. Its duty is to grant planning permissions to meet demand. Sites will be brought forward by individuals and businesses, and it is up to those seeking plots to approach the owners of sites.
The Custom- and Self-Build Register is open to individuals and associations of individuals who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in the authority’s area for their own self-build and custom housebuilding. If you are not seeking to acquire a serviced plot in Fylde to develop a custom- or self-build home for yourself to live in, you will not be eligible to register.
Applicants who wish to register will be required to complete the online registration form. The form asks a series of questions, to determine that applicants satisfy the requirement above, and that applicants meet the Council’s Local Connection Test and Financial Resource Test. These questions involve the provision of information as to the personal and financial circumstances of the applicant, in order for the Council to determine whether these tests are passed.
The Council is aware that individuals may register at any number of local authorities throughout the country in their search for a serviced plot. The Council needs to understand how much of the demand expressed on the register comes from those with a local connection to Fylde, and whose demand should ideally be met within the local area. The legislation provides for councils to include a Local Connection Test within their local eligibility criteria for entry and retention on the Register. The Council’s Local Connection Test is modelled on that used to determine eligibility for affordable housing in the Borough, for the sake of consistency.
The Register is divided into two parts, as set out in the legislation. Applicants who pass the Local Connection Test are entered on the Part 1 Register. Applicants who do not pass the Local Connection Test may still register but will be entered onto the Part 2 Register.
Embarking on a project to build your own home is an activity with major costs attached. It is important that anyone considering this should understand the costs involved at the outset, and that they have made the decision to proceed based on this understanding. The availability of finance and the circumstances of the individual will affect whether building a custom- or self-build home is a realistic proposition.
The Council requires applicants to provide information in support of their application which demonstrates that they are capable of funding the project. The detailed requirements are set out within the form. The Council recognises that applicants will have a wide range of circumstances and that this will affect the size of plot sought and its location.
A fee is payable of £130 for entry onto the register for the year or part year to the following 31st March, and for each subsequent year that an entry remains, a further £130 is payable. These fees are subject to annual review.
In submitting the on-line form, you are agreeing that the Council can use the data you provide assess your eligibility to register and to understand the demand for custom-build and self-build housing.
Personal details included on the register will not be made public, but anonymised headline data extracted from it will be published annually below (i.e overall number of registered entries for various categories, geographical areas of interest, types of housing sought etc.) and in the Authorities Monitoring Report (AMR)
The link to the application form is provided below. Payment is required on completion of the form to allow the application to be made.
Self build and custom house-building register headline data
Local planning authorities do not have to publish their register, but are encouraged to publish headline data for each base period (see below), such as;
- the number of individuals and associations on the register
- the number of plots sought
- location preferences
More information is available on the National Custom & Self Build Association and The Self Build Portal websites.