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Custom and Self-build Register

What is self-build and custom build? 

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 places a duty upon Local Authorities to maintain a register of individuals, and associations of individuals, who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in their area in order to build homes for their occupation. The Act does not distinguish between self-build and custom house building, however they have been defined below for reference: 

  • Self-build projects are defined as those where someone directly organises the design and construction of their own home. This covers a wide range of projects from a traditional DIY self-build home to projects where the self-builder employs someone to build their home for them. Community-led projects can also be defined as self-build.  
  • Custom build homes are where an individual or group works with a specialist developer to help deliver their homes. The developer may help to find a plot, manage the construction and arrange the finance for the project. 

Custom and Self-Build Register 

What is the purpose of the register? 

From 1 April 2016, the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 places a duty upon all local councils to have their own Right to Build (also called Custom and Self-Build) Register.  

Registering on Westminster’s Custom and Self-Build Register is intended to help the council assess demand for this type of housing locally and inform its work on shaping future housing policy for the city. 

Changes to Westminster’s Custom and Self-Build Register 

On 20 January 2020 the Council introduced a new two-part register, which will replace the current one-part register from 17 February 2020.  

Westminster’s Custom and Self-Build Register is divided into: 

  • Part 1, which reflects local demand for custom and self-build. The Council must meet this demand by granting sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of lands for this type of housing. 
  • Part 2, which keeps track of general demand for custom and self-build, with no requirement to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land to meet this demand. The council still has regards to these entries when carrying out its planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration functions. 

How do I apply? 

Please note that the council directly manages Westminster’s Custom and Self-Build Register and that registration on any other list is not recognised and will not carry any weight in relation to the council’s duty to gauge demand for this type of housing. 

To enter the new two-parts Westminster’s Custom and Self-Build Register, please complete and return the following application form by emailing: planningpolicy@westminster.gov.uk or post to: Custom and Self-Build Register, Policy & Projects Team, Policy Performance and Communications, 17th Floor, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP. 

In order to be considered eligible to enter the Register, applicants will be required to demonstrate that they meet the following requirements: 

  • be over 18 
  • be a British citizen or national of a European Economic Area State, or a national of Switzerland  
  • be seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land within Westminster to build a house to occupy as your sole or main residence 
  • have sufficient resources to purchase land for your custom or self-build project 
  • have paid the required fees for entering the register (£95) 
  • that they have lived or worked in Westminster for the past 12 months or be serving in the armed forces of the Crown (“local connection test”). 

Entries meeting all the above eligibility requirements will be eligible for Part 1 of the register, while those entries which meet all eligibility criteria but not the local connection test will be eligible for Part 2 of the register. 

Further details on eligibility requirements and what documents are accepted as proof of meeting these requirements can be found in the application form. 

Administration fee 

Eligible applicants for either Part 1 or Part 2 are required to pay a £95 administration fee to enter the register. To remain on the register from the following year, Part 1 entries will be required to pay a yearly £95 fee while Part 2 entries will be able to remain on the register free of charge. 

Associations will need to pay a fee for each member they wish to include in their entry. 

The council’s duty 

The council has some legal duties that apply to both parts of the register, and some duties that only apply to Part 1. 

The council must have regard to both parts of the register when carrying out its planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration functions. This means the council has a duty to take into account the total number of entries on the register (i.e. Part 1 and Part 2) when drafting planning policy documents (e.g. The City Plan), developing plans for regeneration or deciding to sell council land.  

The council must grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land suitable for custom or self-build projects to meet demand from Part 1 of the register only.  

Existing entries 

The two-part register opened for entries on 20 January 2020. The council is no longer accepting applications to join the old one-part register.  

Existing entries will be able to remain on the register until 17 February 2020. After this date, they will be re-assessed against the revised eligibility requirements and subject to payment of a £95 administration fee. 

We have written to people on the one-part register and invited them to apply to join the two-part register. If you are on the old one-part register and have not heard from us, please let us know by sending an email to planningpolicy@westminster.gov.uk  

The new two-part register will wholly replace the one-part register by 17 February 2020. 

Last updated: 20 January 2020