Self-build and custom house-building register summary - first base

Introduction

Local Planning Authorities (LPA's) are required to create and keep a register of those interested in self build and custom house-building projects under the Self and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.

Through the self-build and custom housebuilding (register) regulations 2016, the Government stipulates that applicants must provide their name, address, date of birth, nationality and confirmation that they are seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in the relevant authority's area to build a house to occupy as that individual's sole or main residence. These details are kept on Part 2 of the Register of Interest.

The LPA can apply affordability and local eligibility criteria to register applicants as well as other material that it is deemed assists in the duty to 'have regard to the register' under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 when carrying out its functions under planning, housing, regeneration and disposal of assets, and a duty to grant suitable planning permission, under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. To this end applicants to the register are asked about the types of projects and locations, finances and circumstances. This is kept on Part 1 of the Register.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 requires LPA's to publish headline data in their Authority Monitoring Report. In addition, Government planning practice guidance recommends that an annual summary of the Register of Interest is published under prescribed base periods. It advises that this includes:

  • the number of individuals and associations on the register
  • the number of plots sought
  • location preferences
  • plot size
  • type of housing intended to be built

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 defines the base periods for the Register of Interest. The first base period is the date the LPA first established a Register of Interest, 31 March 2015, to the day before the day on which section 10 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 came into force which was on 31 October 2016. Each subsequent base period is 12 months beginning immediately after the end of the previous base period. It is intended that an annual report be publish for each subsequent base period.

In 2015 Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) and West Somerset Council (WSC) launched their first Register of Interest. The first base period for TDBC and WSC (The Councils) is therefore 31st March 2015 to 30th October 2016.

In this first base period, a total of 29 persons (26 based in or with links to the TDBC area, 3 based in or with links to the WSC area) submitted an application to appear on the Register of Interest. Out of the 29 applicants, 12 (10 TDBC, 2 WSC) persons submitted the required qualifying information for entry onto Part 1 of the Register.

From 31st October 2016 the Councils have a duty to grant suitable permissions, or permissions in principal, for the number of persons on Part 1 of the Register of Interest. The timescale for the granting permission is three years from the base period. Permissions granted before the start of the first base period cannot be counted, and permissions cannot apply to more than one base period.

From 31st March 2015 to 30th October 2016 there were 34 planning permissions granted (27 in the TDBC area, 7 in the WSC area) that could include SCB projects.

Whilst the duty to make land available correlates only to Part 1 of the Register of Interest, the data on Part 2 of the Register of Interest should be used by the Councils when considering their wider duty to have regard to the register in its planning, housing, regeneration and asset functions.

The number of Individuals on Part 2 of the Register of Interest is 29.

The number of plots sought is 28 (one applicant did not provide information).

The number of applicants household income that is under £60,000 is 22 and over £60,000 is 5 (two did not provide information).

The number of applicants who are on Somerset Homefinder is 0.

Location preferences (grouped by planning policy categorisation of settlements):

TDBC

Principal/secondary TDBC settlement Major/minor rural centre Village with settlement limit Open countryside*
Taunton x 4 Bishops Lydeard Blagdon Hill Broom Farm x 2
Staplegrove Wiveliscombe Pitminster Higher West Hatch
Trull North Curry Stoke St Mary Poundisford
Wellington x 2   West Monkton Wellington Without

* development in open countryside is more restricted than in sustainable settlements

WSC

Rural service centre Open countryside*
Watchet Old Cleve Parish

* development in open countryside is more restricted than in sustainable settlements

The number who are interested in a single individual home project is 26 and the number who are interested in a collective or group build project is 2.

23 want a self-build project, whereas 3 want a supported self-build project and 2 want design only.

The number who are interested in a detached build is 14, semi-detached is 9 and terraced is 6.

Number of bedrooms needed:

Bedrooms Number of individuals
1 1
2 3
3 11
4 12
5 1
6 1

Savings available for the project:

Savings Number of individuals
£5,000 - £9,000 1
£10,000 - £24,000 2
£25,000 - £49,000 3
£50,000 - £74,000 1
£75,000 - £99,000 1
£100,000 - £149,000 2
£150,000 - £199,000 2
£200,000 - £249,000 4
£250,000 - £299,000 2
over £300,000 7
No data 4

Mortgage required for the project:

Amount of mortgage required Number of individuals
under £50,000 4
£50,000 - £99,000 4
£100,000 - £149,000 6
£150,000 - £199,000 5
£200,000 - £299,000 1
£300,000 - £399,000 0
over £400,000 7

Reasons for the project:

Reason Number of individuals
Individual needs 9
Capital costs 5
Running costs 8
Environmental 1
Location 1
Quality and specification 1

The number who want to undertake the project within 1 year is 19, within 1-2 years is 7 and within 2-3 years is 1.

Fees and law

The Self-build and Custom House-building (Time for Compliance and Fees) Regulations 2016

A relevant authority may charge a fee to a person:

  • to be entered on the register for a base period or part of a base period
  • thereafter, on an annual basis, to remain on that register irrespective of whether any fee was charged to be entered on the register

[so those already on register may be charged an annual fee to remain]

A relevant authority must determine when a fee is to be payable, and must refund any fee paid by a person whose application to be entered on or to remain on the register is unsuccessful.

The amounts of fees charged by a relevant authority under paragraph (1) are to be determined and must be published by that authority.

Different fees may be charged to different categories of applicant under paragraph (1).

[so a lower fee can be charged for Part 2 (basic info) than Part 1 (duty to grant listing)]

In determining the amounts of fees, a relevant authority must secure that, taking one financial year with another:

  • the income from fees payable by persons to whom the duty in section 2A does not apply as a consequence of the Self-build and Custom House-building Regulations 2016

[2B Exemption from duty in section 2A is if an authority applies for exemption to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may direct that the authority is not subject to the duty in section 2A]

  • does not exceed its reasonable costs incurred in connection with its functions under section 1 of, and the Schedule to, the Act; and

[section 1 is the LPA duty to keep a register of individuals, and associations of individuals (including bodies corporate that exercise functions on behalf of associations of individuals), who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in the authority’s area in order to build houses for those individuals to occupy as homes.]

  • the income from fees payable by other persons does not exceed its reasonable costs incurred in connection with its functions under sections 1 and 2A of, and the Schedule to, the Act

[section 2A is the LPA duty to grant suitable (development that could include SCB) planning permission or permission in principle (a Local Development Order on land maintained or adopted by the LA) within three years in respect of enough serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding in the authority’s area arising from Part 1 of the Register of Interest in each base period.]

A relevant authority may not charge a fee to remain on the register to any person in relation to whom the duty in section 2A of the Act does not apply either as a consequence of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 or as a consequence of a direction issued under section 2B(1) of the Act(b).

[fee to remain on the register cannot be charged to those for whom we do not have the duty to grant suitable planning permission, those only on Part 2.

And

2B Exemption from duty in section 2A is if an authority applies for exemption to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may direct that the authority is not subject to the duty in section 2A]

powers conferred by section 2A(3) of and paragraph 6 of the Schedule to the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015(a). section 2A(4) of the Act.

Planning permissions granted

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 clarifies that development permission is 'suitable' if it is permission in respect of development that could include self-build and custom house-building.

As regards granting planning permission, as SCB are CIL exempt (application must be submitted at the time of the planning application submission) for TDBC these permissions can be cross referenced against the permitted exemption data. WSC does not have CIL so it is more time-consuming to sort through the windfall planning permission for a number of likely SCB projects granted permission. A qualitative filter has been applied to the residential windfall planning permissions (ie only considering sites for 1-2 dwellings, applications by individuals not companies, and applying a 45% ratio based on TDBC windfall permissions to SCB developments).

Therefore WSC:

  • 1st March 2016 to 30th October 2016 = 13 dwellings

WSC weekly lists:

  • 31st March 2015 to 31st February 2016 = 3 dwellings

Total 16 dwellings applying 45% ration = 7.2 dwellings

Plots for sale on the open market

All plots identified had planning permission which raises the value of the land. Notwithstanding this, the data showed plot values varied considerable between urban and rural locations:

West Somerset

  • Washford – plot with pp for 3-bed house £50,000-£99,000
  • Watchet – plot with outline pp for 1-bed detached or 2-semi-detached £99,000
  • Watchet – plot with full pp granted for a two bedroom detached house £55,000
  • Sampford Brett - 1/6th of an acre pp for a 4-bed house plus 1/2 acre adjacent paddock £230,000
  • Porlock Rd Exmoor National Park – pp five bedroom detached house £200,000
  • Withycombe – land with pp for three dwellings, in centre of Withycombe village £180,000

Taunton Deane

  • Taunton – pp for detached three bedroom house of approximately 1200 square feet (site 1722 square feet) £60,000
  • Churchstanton - pp for a detached dwelling in 9.5 acres, mains water and electricity connected £325,000

Auction/open market (not marketed as SCB but could be applicable) search for land

Taunton Deane

  • Cotford St Luke – land adjacent to 6 Aveline Court, with pp for a 4-bed house £97,500 GTH
  • Taunton - Former Park Keepers House, 277 Cheddon Road, TA2 7AX. Unsold at auction, last bid £179,000 – site 9,115 square feet (850 square metres) – March 2017
  • Hatch Beauchamp - building plot with pp for 4-bed house £300,000
  • Blagdon Hill – former pub with pp for a 4-bed house £350,000
  • Thurloxton - barns with pp for two dwellings £375,000
  • Langaller - Taunton TA2, land with pp for four dwellings £450,000

This suggests that the LPA’s may need to have a sliding scale of affordability criteria to establish the ability of the applicant to afford SCB serviced plot.