Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register Progress Report 

Introduction

The terms ‘self-build’ and ‘custom build’ are used to describe situations where individuals or groups are involved in creating their own home. The difference between the two is the level of personal involvement; self-build is where an individual directly organises and commissions the design and construction of their new home whereas custom build is where a developer co-ordinates the whole process for those involved. 

Section 9 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 defines self-build and custom housebuilding as “the building or completion by individuals, associations of individuals, or persons working with or for individuals or associations of individuals, of houses to be occupied as homes by those individuals. 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”.

The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) places a duty on Local Authorities to keep a Register of individuals and organisations who wish to acquire serviced plots of land in their area for their own self-build and custom housebuilding, and to publicise that Register. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 also places a duty on Local Authorities to have regard to its Register in carrying out its functions in relation to planning, housing, the disposal of land in its ownership and regeneration.

Furthermore, the Housing and Planning Act 2016 places a duty on Local Authorities to give suitable development permission for enough serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding identified by the Register in any given “base period”. The first base period is 1st April 2016 to 30th October 2016, with each subsequent base period the 12 months thereafter. The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 came into force on 31st October 2016 and allowed the Register to be broken up into two parts; Part 1 for those who meet all criteria including any Local Eligibility Conditions and Part 2 for those who meet all criteria excluding any Local Eligibility Conditions. For those on Part 2 of the Register, the Council does not have to meet certain requirements relating to the number of planning permissions granted for serviced plots.

A serviced plot of land, as defined in the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 and amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, has access to a public highway and has connections for electricity, water and waste water, or can be provided with those things in specified circumstances or within a specified period.

Planning Policy Framework

The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP, adopted February 2016) supports the principle of development of self-build plots within the defined Development Boundaries (SWDP2 C) and on housing allocations (SWDP43 - SWDP59). This includes individual self-build plots; sites made up of a number of self-build plots; and self-build plots as part of the wider market housing mix on larger developments (SWDP14).

However, SWDP2 C does not support the principle of development of self-build plots outside of the defined Development Boundaries, which is considered to be open countryside where development should be strictly controlled and limited to rural development proposals and development specifically supported by other SWDP policies. SWDP18 Replacement Dwellings in the Open Countryside supports the replacement of an existing dwelling in the open countryside with a new single dwelling subject to a number of criteria, and this form of development could include self-build dwellings.

A Review of the SWDP is underway - the Issues and Options consultation took place in November and December 2018. Chapter 9 of the SWDP Review Issues and Options consultation document discusses ‘Delivering High Quality Homes’, with paragraph’s 9.18 to 9.22 focusing on self-build and custom build housing. Option 12 asked whether the SWDP Review should require developers to offer a specified proportion of larger housing allocations as self-build and custom build plots, if it should allocate sites specifically for self-build and custom build housing, or if it should not have a specific policy but rely upon the development management process for self-build and custom build homes to come forward.

On the basis of the responses to the Issues and Options consultation and the Sustainability Appraisal, the SWDP Review Preferred Options proposed a new policy to provide opportunities for self-build and custom housebuilding. SWDPR 15 states that: “Proposals of 20 dwellings or more will be expected to provide 5% of dwelling plots for sale as self or custom build plots unless demand identified on the LPA Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register, or other relevant evidence, demonstrates that there is a lower demand for plots”.

Work is now underway on the Publication version of the SWDP Review; a delay to the original programme has occurred of which the time table now states that the public consultation will take place in July -August 2022. It is anticipated that the SWDP Review will be adopted during October 2023.

Certain types of work can be undertaken without the need for planning permission, known as Permitted Development Rights. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 is the principal statutory instrument for Permitted Development Rights. Part 3 of Schedule 2 details all change of uses allowed under Permitted Development Rights, subject to specific criteria and Prior Approval being granted, which for change of use to dwellings are as follows:

  • Class L, small HMOs to dwellinghouses (and vice versa)
  • Class M, retail or betting office or pay day loan shop to dwellinghouses
  • Class N, specified sui generis uses to dwellinghouses
  • Class O, offices to dwellinghouses
  • Class P, storage or distribution centre to dwellinghouses
  • Class Q, agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses

Malvern Hills District Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register

The Malvern Hills District Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register was established on 1st April 2016 and has been available ever since for individuals and organisations to complete the online form. In the first base period between 1st April 2016 and 30th October 2016, there were 47 entries on the Register.

Since the first base period and the introduction of the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016, the Register went through an update in May and June 2017 in order to introduce a Local Eligibility Condition to enable entries to be split into Part 1 and Part 2. All those already on the Register prior to 30th May 2017 were automatically allowed on to Part 1 of the Register if they provided an update form with the relevant additional information by 30th June 2017. This exercise resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of individuals on the Malvern Hills District Self-Build Register in the first base period (and in the first part of the second base period), with the number of entries on the Malvern Hills District Self-Build Register in first base period reducing from 47 to 15 entries.

As of 30th October 2021, there were 119 entries on the Malvern Hills District Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register, and headline data is provided below:

Individuals / Associations by Register Part

All 119 entries on the Malvern Hills District Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register are Individuals; there are no Associations. There are 59 entries on Part 1 and 60 entries on Part 2 of the Malvern Hills District Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register.

Entries by Base Period

It should be noted that the number represented within the cumulative entries’ column may not total the amount of entries made from year to year; this is due to removal requests from the register between base periods.

Base period

Entries (Part 1/Part 2)

Cumulative Entries 

(Part 1/Part 2)

Delivery

(provision/need) P/A

(provision/need) culm

1 (1 April 2016 to 30 October 2016)

To be provided for by 31st October 2019
15 (15 / 0) 15 (15 / 0)

(1 / 15)

(1 / 15)

2 (31 October 2016 to 30 October 2017)

To be provided for by 31st October 2020
23 (19 / 4) 38 (34 / 4)

(0 / 19)

(1 / 34)

3 (31 October 2017 to 30 October 2018)

To be provided for by 31st October 2021
18 (9 / 9) 56 (43 / 13)

(1 / 9)

(2 / 43)

4 (31 October 2018 to 30 October 2019)

To be provided for by 31st October 2022
29 (13 / 16) 85 (56 / 29) N / A

5 (31 October 2019 to 30 October 2020)

To be provided for by 31st October 2023
7 (1 / 6) 92 (57 / 35) N / A

6 (31 October 2020 to 30 October 2021)

To be provided for by 31st October 2024
31 (6 / 25) 119 (59 / 60) N / A

These figures are correct as of 30 October 2021 and are subject to change; this could be, for example, if an individual requests to be removed from the Register or if an individual presents evidence which means they are eligible to move from Part 2 to Part 1 of the Register. 

Areas of the District of Interest

The most common answer for the question “within which area(s) are you seeking a plot?” is “Any Area” with 63. The most common area-specific choices are Little Malvern and Welland (24), Lower Broadheath (22), Malvern Town (21), Malvern Wells (21) and West Malvern (21). A wide range of areas in the District have specific interest for Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding, with 54 of the 54 identified areas having at least 1 response.

Type of Project Sought

The most common answer for the question “which project type would you prefer to be a part of?” is “A Standalone, Individual Self-Build Plot” with 65 responses, with a further 38 entries having “No Preference”. The remaining 16 responses were for “A plot as part of a wider community self-build project” (5), “Other” (3), “An individual self-build plot on a conventional housing development” (3) and “No response” (5).

Building as Part of a Joint Project with Other Self-Builders?

Surprisingly given the responses to the Type of Project Sought question discussed above, 76 entries would be interested in building as part of a joint project with other Self-Builders, with 35 stating that they would not be interested in building as part of a joint project with other Self-Builders and 8 no responses were received.

Type and Size of Property Sought

The most common answer for the question “What kind of property would you like to build as part of your project?” is “Detached House” with 92 responses, with a further 15 responses having a preference for “Detached Bungalow”; the remaining 12 responses were for “Other” (6); “No Response” (5); and “Semi-detached house” (1).

The most common answer for the question “What size of dwelling(s) do you hope to build?” is “3 bedrooms” with 44 responses; the next most common response was “4 bedrooms” with 41 responses; “2 bedrooms” (16), “5 / 5+ bedrooms” (13), “No Response” (5) and “1 bedroom” received 0 responses.

Meeting the Demand

As of 30th October 2021, two full planning permission have been granted for two Self-Build plot:

Application Ref Location  Proposal Decision 
18/00052/FUL Annexe at Ploughs End, Corse Lawn, Gloucester,
GL19 4LZ
Demolition of existing dwelling and skittle alley and erection of a self-build replacement dwelling and associated works. Approved 26/03/2018
20/01947/FUL Victoria House Sawmill, Hereford Road, Leigh Sinton New 3-bedroom self-build dwelling Approved 27/07/2021