Local authorities have been given a three-year window to find ways of meeting demand for self build and custom build housing in their areas.
New legislation that came into force on 31st October 2016 gives local authorities in England a rolling three-year deadline to respond to the level of demand established in their local self-build and custom housebuilding registers in the year ending 30th October. Applicants registering from 31st October onwards will be added to the following year’s list.
Under the new laws, councils aren’t actually required to offer plots directly for sale but they must grant planning permission for the number of plots requested, unless they apply for exemption under special circumstances.
Local authorities are also now allowed to introduce their own eligibility criteria. These could include a local connection test (requiring applicants to demonstrate that they have lived or worked in the area for a minimum time period or that they have close family members living there), a requirement for applicants to demonstrate access to the funds to complete their project, and/or a registration fee payable to the local authority.
Most local authorities haven’t yet announced how they will respond to the new legislation. However it’s hoped that the new laws will boost the number of plots for both individual and collective self and custom build housing projects across England.