The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 (2016 Regulations) came into force on 31st October 2016. The Regulations replace the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding (Register) Regulations 2016 and make a number of amendments that affect local authorities, including:
- The format and maintenance of the self-build register
- Allowing a local planning authority (LPA) to stipulate local eligibility conditions and separate the self-build register into those individuals and associations that pass a local connection test and those that do not
- Broadening the definition of a "serviced plot of land" to include plots that will obtain public highway access and connections for electricity, water and waste water before the planning permission expires
- When an LPA may apply to the Secretary of State for exemption from the statutory duty as set out at section 2A of the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (2015 Act) where there is high demand for serviced plots but housing land supply is constrained.
The 2015 Act states that LPAs are obligated to keep a register of individuals and associations of individuals who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in the LPA's area in order to build houses for those individuals to occupy as homes.
An LPA has the power to set local eligibility criteria and divide the self-build register into two parts; Part 1 for those who pass the local connection test and Part 2 for those who do not. There is a duty (Section 2A of the 2015 Act) on the part of the LPA to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding arising in each base period, but that obligation does not apply to anyone in Part 2 of the register.
Overall, the 2016 Regulations provide a range of benefits for LPAs as well as those looking to build a home. Although the definition of "serviced plot of land" should account for a greater number of developable building plots, LPAs with a legitimate housing shortage have the ability to apply to the SoS for exemption from section 2A of the 2015 Act. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the government is seeking to double the number of new homes being custom or self-built by 2020 (rising from 10% to 20% of all new homes constructed) and will implement further measures to achieve this target if necessary.