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Guidance notes for completing the custom and self build register

What is custom and self build housing?

Self and custom build housing is housing built by individuals or groups for their own use, either by building the home on their own or by working with builders to design and tailor their own home to their specific needs and requirements. The Government is promoting this type of homebuilding, and is seeking local authorities’ assistance in doing this by placing a duty on local authorities to maintain a register of interest through the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016).

Section A1 and A2 of the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 defines self-build and custom housebuilding as:

“the building or completion by
(a) individuals,
(b) associations of individuals; or
(c) persons working with or for individuals or associations of individuals, of houses to be occupied as homes by those individuals.
But it does not include the building of a house on a plot acquired from a person who builds the house wholly or mainly to plans or specifications decided or offered by that person.”

What is the purpose of the register?

The Register enables us to capture information on the level and type of interest in self build and custom housebuilding and to use this evidence to inform our housing and planning policies.

The questions are designed to give us a clear picture of your wishes and the type and location of site that would meet your requirements.

The Register will be formed of two parts.

Part 1 will include applicants who satisfy all of the requirements including the local eligibility conditions.

Part 2 will include anyone who satisfies all requirements other than the local eligibility conditions.

What is the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 of the register?

Section 2A of the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 imposes a duty on us to:

‘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’. ‘Base period’ refers to the year starting with the date that Section 2A of the Act comes into force and each anniversary thereafter.

This duty applies only to entries on the Part 1 register.

How to register

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 require that certain details are provided in order that you can be considered. The form below clearly indicates what this is – you will need to provide these details otherwise your application will be rejected. In addition, the Council has included further questions on the form to help provide a better service to applicants by better understanding their needs –it would be helpful if you could respond to these questions also.

The Regulations allow us 28 days from submission of your application to determine if you are suitable for inclusion. We will then notify you of our decision. If your request is declined, we will have to give reasons for this.

If you wish to apply as an association, you will need to use a different form.

Who can register?

In order to register you must be

  • 18 years or older
  • a British citizen, a national of a EEA State other than the UK, or a national of Switzerland
  • seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in West Northamptonshire to build a house to occupy as your sole or main residence.

In order to register for the Part 1 Register you must also demonstrate that you meet the local connection test as set out below.

Applicants meeting one of the following criteria will be defined as having a local connection to West Northamptonshire, provided that the connection has been made through the applicant’s own choice (this means that if an applicant has been placed in West Northamptonshire and it is not through a choice they have made, for example, being detained in prison or hospitalised, this will not be considered a local connection):

A. applicants who have lived in West Northamptonshire continuously for the 12 months preceding their application
B. applicants who have lived in West Northamptonshire for at least 3 out of the 5 years preceding their application
C. applicants who have lived in West Northamptonshire for at least 5 out of the 10 years preceding their application
D. applicants who have a close relative (see definition below) living within West Northamptonshire for no less than 2 continuous years preceding application
E. applicants who have a permanent contract of employment within West Northamptonshire and have been in that post for no less than six months
F. applicants who have a temporary contract of employment within West Northamptonshire for no less than 12 months and have also been in that post for no less than six months
G. members of the armed forces. Ex service personnel are deemed to satisfy the ‘local connection’ test for a period of five years after leaving service

For these purposes, close relatives of the applicants will be defined as the following including the ‘step’ equivalent:

  • mother/father
  • sister/brother
  • daughter/son
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • wife/husband
  • partner/civil partner

Eligibility criteria will change for applications submitted on or after 1 April 2024.

Will information on the register be made public?

Information about individuals and their needs will not be published, but anonymised information about the level and type of need will be made available in the public domain. It is intended that this will be done through our Annual Monitoring Report.

Can I amend my details on the register?

Amendments can be made to the register. We will consider the proposed changes to ensure that the entry on the register would still be compliant with the requirements. If not, the entry will be removed from the register.

Who will the council correspond with?

All correspondence will be with the person named on the form. In the case of associations all correspondence will be with the lead contact identified on the application form.

Can entries be removed from the register?

Individuals and the lead contact for associations can, in writing, ask for their entry to be removed from the register. We have to do so within 28 days.

We can remove any entry from their register if we consider that the individual or in the case of an association any member, is no longer eligible.

Will I be charged to enter the register and to remain on it?

The fee to apply to enter the register is currently £22.00 per application for Part 1 and £11.00 per application for Part 2. If you wish to remain on the Part 1 register for more than a year there will be a further fee of £22.00. There is no fee to remain on Part 2.

For associations the fee will be applied to each entry on the application.

Once your application has been checked you will be notified whether or not you meet all of the necessary criteria. If you do you will be notified about how to pay the application fee, and on receipt of the fee you will be added to the register.

More information

More information on this can be found as follows:

Last updated 05 February 2024