A growing minority of local authorities are using “dirty tricks” to limit the number of people joining and remaining on Right to Build registers, according to the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA).
Around 11,400 new registrations have been added to the self and custom build registers in the past 12 months, NaCSBA has revealed, but these numbers do not match the underlying demand.
The Right to Build is legislation that supports people who want to build their own homes. Passed as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, Right to Build requires local authorities to help to find plots for aspiring self builders, which is done through the Right to Build register. You can find your local self and custom build registers on NaCSBA’s Right to Build Portal.
NaCSBA believes the increasing use of “dirty tricks” by local authorities are preventing people who want to build their own home from achieving this, highlighting three areas of what it considers unacceptable practice:
- Local authorities are charging excessive fees to join registers and denying those living outside an authority to build a home there
- Local authorities are counting plots intended for building on by housing developers as being suitable for self building when they clearly are not
- Local authorities have removed the names of people who’ve joined a register to justify reducing the number of plots that they need to permission – around 8,000 names have been cleansed.
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of NaCSBA said: “For the first time, local authorities have had to meet a statutory duty to help self builders access the plots that are needed. It is clear that overall they have come up short. In some cases, this is despite the hard work and best efforts of the authority, and we recognise those that have worked hard in this area.
“In too many cases however local authorities have spent scarce time and effort not on delivering plots but rather on seeking to avoid their obligations. This cannot continue; not least if we are to deliver homes in the volume and of the quality that this country needs.”
Right to Build Registers Grow
NaCSBA’s research indicates that since 1 April 2016, an estimated 55,000 people have signed up to Right to Build registers across England. However, due to roughly 8,000 removals, the total currently sits at around 47,000.
The register is growing, which is extremely positive for the self build and custom build community, with 11,400 new sign-ups to the Right to Build registers between 2018-19. But, while 13,000 plots are being delivered per year, this is not enough to meet the demand.
On Right to Build Day (30 October 2019), local authorities had to demonstrate whether they had granted planning permission for 18,000 plots for custom and self build homes (to match the number of people who signed up to the self build and custom build registers between April 1st and October 30th, 2016), but NaCSBA’s bid to track which local authorities are performing in their duty to create housing diversity in the UK led to some concerning findings.
Only 45% of councils claim to have met their legal duties with regards to the Right to Build registers, 37% failed to provide any response to NaCSBA, and 18% accepted that their obligations have not been met.
NaCSBA is now calling on local authorities to address the areas of unacceptable practice that have been identified, and that they act within the letter and the spirit of the law, and to ensure more plots are permissioned.