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Self-Build And Custom House Building

The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 requires us to keep a register of individuals or groups who are seeking serviced plots of land in the borough to build their own homes.

The council keeps an up-to-date register of these individuals to determine the demand for plots from those interested in undertaking self-build and custom build housing projects. Please read the following information if you would like to join the register.

What is self and custom housebuilding?

Self and custom housebuilding is the process where an individual, or an association or collection of individuals, are seeking a serviced plot of land to build their own home(s).

Types of self and custom build

Self-build and custom build housing can range from single house projects to larger developments. We have listed some of the forms of self and custom housebuilding below:

  • Self-build individual plot – An individual buys a plot of land and builds a house. They can manage the construction process and build the house themselves or they can employ a builder, architect and project manager etc., who manage the build for them
  • Collective custom build – Groups constitute themselves as an organisation to design and develop a custom build housing development which they then live in. They may build this themselves or with help from a developer to manage the project
  • Community-led – Community-led housing projects, which build mostly affordable homes in the community, will enable a group of people to build homes together, either individually or in cooperation with a builder or housing provider
  • Developer-led build – Developers with large sites divide them into single plots and offer a design-and-build service. This gives people a chance to customise existing house designs to suit their needs, sometimes being offered the chance to finish the interior of the house themselves
  • Co-housing – A co-housing project involves a constituted group of people creating their own neighbourhood of homes with shared facilities, such as a communal house. A community ethos is at the heart of this type of housing

We manage a register to gauge the demand for serviced self and custom build plots in the borough. We use the register to coordinate planning policy efforts to ensure that the self-build needs of those on the register are met through relevant planning permissions. See what else the council is doing to meet its self and custom housebuilding need.

Things to consider before joining the register

  • The scheme is limited by the land that becomes available so we cannot guarantee when or even if a suitable plot of land will be offered
  • Plots of land that become available will be matched to your requirements as closely as possible
  • Most plots that become available will have services (electricity, gas, sewerage, roads, etc.) supplied up to the boundary 
  • Plots will be available at market value
  • Self and custom build projects will be subject to the same planning requirements and obligations as standard planning applications

Are you eligible to join the register?

To apply to be on the self and custom housebuilding register, you must meet all of the following eligibility criteria. There is also a fee of £30 to pay.

Each individual applicant and every member of an association of individuals that applies for entry on the register must be:

  • Aged 18 or older
  • A British citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland
  • Seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land within the Ashford borough to build a house that will then be their sole, or main, residence

When applying to be entered on the register, individuals who wish to register as a constituted association must appoint a member or officer to act as the lead contact for the purposes of all correspondence between the association and the council.

In determining whether you are eligible for entry on the register, we are entitled, but not required, to rely on information you provide as part of the application process.

Register your interest for a self or custom house build project.

How to pay and annual renewal

From 31 October 2017, a fee of £30 was introduced for first time applications. The £30 introduction fee includes registration onto the register and the rest of the base year (until 30 October).

Payment can be made by debit/credit card on our website under Self-Build Application fee. You may also pay by cheque made payable to Ashford Borough Council, quoting Self-Build Register on the reverse and send to Planning (SCBR), Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL.

In October of each year, we will ask if you would like to remain on the register. If you fail to pay the renewal fee, you will be removed from the register. Applicants will be required to re-register every 12 months to ensure their information is up-to-date. Letters will be sent to all entrants in October, and the renewal fee for the year 2019-20 is £15.

How we use information from the register

By signing up and registering your interest, you will help us find out more about the demand for self-build and custom build plots in the Ashford borough, where people would like their plot to be and the type of house that they would like to build.

The information will be used to explore ways in which it might be possible for people and plots to be brought together. Registration does not, however, guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified, or become available.

Although we are required to have regard for the register when carrying out our planning and housing function, this is not indefinite. Any applicant consistently refusing offers of suitable plots will be removed from the register.

The legal bit....

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is the data controller for the personal information you provide. ABC's Data Protection Officer can be contacted at FOI@ashford.gov.uk. Your information will be used to assist in the compilation of the Self Build Register and processing is being conducted relying upon a contract basis. Your personal data will not be published or shared with third parties. Your information will be retained for as long as the contract is maintained. For more information on your rights please see the council's privacy statement.

What else are we doing to meet the borough's self and custom build demand?

The council, as local planning authority, is required to give suitable development permission to enough serviced plots to meet the demand for self-build and custom building in the borough, which is informed by the number of entries on the register. At the end of each base period (31 October), the authority has three years to grant planning permission to an equivalent number of plots as there are entries on the register from that year. Please note, there is no duty on the authority to permission land which specifically meets the requirements expressed by those on the register.

In order to meet these requirements, the council requires self and custom build serviced plots to be provided within appropriate new developments in the borough. In February 2019 the council adopted the Ashford Local Plan 2030. One of the adopted policies, HOU6 – Self and Custom Built Development, will ensure that over the plan period (2019-2030) a steady supply of serviced self and custom build dwelling plots are provided.

Self and custom build plots will therefore be provided:

  • on sites on the edge of the towns of Ashford and Tenterden delivering more than 40 dwellings,
  • and at sites in the villages and rural areas delivering more than 20 dwellings.

The Ashford Local Plan 2030 allocates specific sites for the development of housing where policy HOU6 would apply. Policy HOU6 would also apply to any other applications (windfall developments) where the number of dwellings detailed above are proposed.

If such an application is granted planning permission, the details of the application will be publicised to those on the self and custom build register. You will be encouraged to contact the developer of the site to discuss the availability of self and custom build plots.

Please continue to note that entry onto the register does not guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified or become available. The scheme is limited by the land that becomes available so we cannot guarantee when or even if a suitable plot of land will be offered.

Monitoring information

Self-build register entrants
Base period Individuals on register Groups on register
31 October 2019 - 30 October 2020 (base period 5) 4 1
31 October 2018 - 30 October 2019 (base period 4) 3 0
31 October 2017 - 30 October 2018 (base period 3) 4 0
31 October 2016 - 30 October 2017 (base period 2) 2 0
1 April 2016 - 30 October 2016 (base period 1) 1 0
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