Probably the highest hurdle any self-builder has to jump over is a finding a plot of land to build on. Here at Scandinavian Homes, we’re often asked if we can help with plot finding, and we do our best, however, legislation that came into force on October 31st (without the slightest spooky occurrence) is likely to do a great deal more to help potential self-builders than we can.
Since 1 April 2016, Local Authorities have been required to maintain a register of people who are interested in getting their own plot of land to build a home on, although they have the right to give priority to people who live or work locally, or have a viable local connection. The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 mean that local authorities now have a responsibility to grant planning permission for sufficient serviced plots to meet the demand as shown by the registers, within three years of the demand having been entered on the register. Not all councils are as keen as we are for this to go ahead and some councils have either done a good job of hiding the register somewhere on their website, or are just not hosting one at all. I’m proud to say my local council, Wakefield, has theirs nice and prominent on their planning page. NACSBA have a register finder on their website that also signs you up for news updates http://www.righttobuildportal.org/build-your-own-home/local-authority-search/ or you can Google “Right to build [your town or local authority name]” to find it yourself – most councils seem to have a link from their Planning page.
On the 18th of October 2016, the House of Lords passed legislation that will allow the councils to charge a fee to people being entered on their register and for them to charge an annual fee in subsequent years while the person remains on the register – albeit only on a cost recovery basis. This is a slight negative, but on the whole, this legislation should make a huge difference in the availability of plots and will also hopefully influence decisions on planning permission for one-off private custom build homes, small developments and self-builds. Industry insiders like NACSBA will doubtless be monitoring the situation with charges and campaigning vigorously if councils try to abuse this right.
If you’d like to read the text of the motion in the Lords, you can find it here