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Right to Build

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 places a duty on local councils to maintain a register of people who are seeking to acquire land to build a home themselves in the authority’s area. 

The Act requires local authorities to understand what the demand is in their areas for self-build and custom build housing and to have regard to that demand when exercising their strategic planning and other relevant functions. This means that local planning authorities will have to make provision for self-build and custom build development opportunities in their local plans.

Definition

In brief, self-build usually means that you are directly involved in organising the design and construction of your new home. Custom build usually means working with a specialist developer to help you deliver your home. There may be some overlap between the two – for example some custom build developers offer the option of a serviced plot where you can design your own home as part of a larger scheme.

The Local Connection Test

On 18 February 2019, Three Rivers District Council introduced a Local Connection Test for entry onto the Right to Build Register. The Right to Build Register is subsequently made up of two parts: 

  • Part 1 measures local demand for self-build and custom housebuilding. The Council is required to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land to meet local demand.
  • Part 2 measures general demand for self-build and custom housebuilding. There is no requirement for the Council to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land to meet general demand. 

The Council have set the following criterion, which all individuals (including associations of individuals), must satisfy in order to be eligible for entry on Part 1 of the Right to Build Register: 

  • Be continuously a resident of the District for a minimum of two years prior to the date of their application; or
  • Be permanently employed in the District and work for a minimum of 16 hours per week (if this employment ceases the individual/association is no longer eligible); or
  • Have close family (parents, siblings or children) who, on the date of the application to enter the Register, reside in the District and have done so continuously for 10 years or more; or
  • Are currently in the service of the regular armed forces of the Crown (within the meaning of section 374 of the Armed Forces Act 2006); or
  • Was previously in the service of the regular armed forces of the Crown (within the meaning of section 374 of the Armed Forces Act 2006) having left no more than 5 years ago 

Individuals who do not meet the requirements of the Local Connection Test may still be eligible of Part 2 of the register, provided that all other eligibility requirements set out in the regulations are addressed. 

Please see the ‘How to Apply’ section below for further information on applying to Part 1 or Part 2 of the register.

Fees

The Council have set the following fees which must be paid in order for an individual (or association of individuals) to be entered and retained on the Right to Build Register: 

  1. £200 for entry onto Part 1 or Part 2 of the Register
  2. £175 as an annual fee to remain on the Register (Part 1 only) 

The entry fee of £200 is payable within 28 days of an applicant being notified that their application to the Right to Build Register has been successful. If payment is not made within 28 days of confirmation of entry, the individual will be removed from the register. Details of the payment method will be provided when entry to the register is confirmed. Where an application is from an association of individuals, each member of the association must pay the relevant fee. 

All individuals (or associations of individuals) held on the register will be required to pay an annual fee to remain on the register, irrespective of whether any entry fee was charged to them initially. The annual fee must be paid by the date which is one year after confirmation of entry to the register, and each year thereafter. If an individual (or association of individuals) fails to pay the annual fee required to remain on the register, their entry will be removed from the register. Each member of an association is required to pay the relevant fee. 

Please note that new entrants to the register are not required to pay an annual fee for their first year (payment of the entry fee accounts for the first year). 

How to Apply

If you would like to register your interest for a self-build or custom build plot, please download and complete the registration form at the bottom of the page and email to: trldf@threerivers.gov.uk. Alternatively, post your form to: Economic & Sustainable Development, Three Rivers District Council, Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth, WD3 1RL.

Applications for entry to Part 1 of the register should be submitted with sufficient documentation to evidence that the applicant satisfies the Local Connection Test.

The Council will require evidence of residency or employment in the District, for example, through submission of utility bills, council tax statements, a letter of confirmation from an employer, or any other information which demonstrates residency or employment beyond doubt. For persons in current or past service of the regular armed forces of the Crown, the Council requires evidence of current service, or past service (including the date of leaving service). The Council will ask for further information where necessary. For associations of individuals, information must be provided for each individual. 

The Council may refuse an application for entry in the register due to lack of information. 

Following receipt of an application, the Council will assess the information provided and confirm in writing if the applicant is, or is not, eligible for entry in Part 1 or Part 2 of the Register. 

**Registration does not guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified or become available**

Association Application to Register for Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding (pdf)

Individual Application to Register for Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding (pdf)