Londoners dreaming of building their own home are being encouraged to sign up to a pilot register to gauge demand for a new scheme which could see councils allocate plots of land for small-scale housebuilding across the city.

The ‘Build Your Own London Home’ register is available to individuals and community groups who have the interest and capability to take development into their own hands. The register will give City Hall a live database that will display the level of interest and demand across London, and help shape future housing policy for the city.

Although the register is still in pilot stages, it is envisaged that a London-wide ‘Build Your Own Home’ scheme will empower Londoners to shape their own living spaces the way they want, and contribute to vibrant and unique communities. Facilitating this ‘self-build’ method of construction empowers individuals and groups and strengthens neighbourhood links.

Once the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 becomes law, local councils will have a duty to set up their own registers for people looking to acquire land to build a home, and to offer suitable land opportunities. The pilot register will help to provide a model for how these local registers will be run.

Availability of land will vary across boroughs, and will be presented to potential owners in a variety of ways. Londoners who register need to be aware that by doing so they are not guaranteed land, and they may have to re-register following the passing of the bill.

Small-scale construction has its place even in a large city like London, and it is important that Londoners who wish to take on the responsibility of building their own home are afforded the possibility of doing so, particularly in cases where productive use is made of brownfield land that would otherwise lay empty. Community organisations with charitable aims are particularly encouraged to sign up to the pilot register so the level of interest from this sector can be measured.

The ‘Build Your Own London Home’ programme complements the Mayor’s initiatives in enabling more large-scale construction across London. This includes the Housing Zone scheme, which designates target areas for growth in different boroughs and provides funding and planning assistance to fast-track housing construction. More than 50,000 new homes will be provided from the first 18 zones.

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