30th Oct 2023
Self-build and custom housing: changes to LA duties
Released On 10th Nov 2023
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) was given Royal Assent on 26th October 2023. We await further consultations, secondary legislation and guidance in order to bring the provisions in LURA fully into effect – however we note that Chapter 6 makes some important changes to the 2015 Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act. These relate to local authorities’ duty to grant planning permission for self-build and custom housing.
Local authorities are already required to give enough permissions each year to meet the demand for self-build and custom housing, evidenced by entries on their Register. Years are recorded as October-October base periods and the authority has 3 years in which to grant the permissions. In the past there has been some uncertainty about what counts as a suitable permission and how unmet demand is carried over after 3 years. This uncertainty will be cleared up by amendments to section 2a of The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act.
The amendments to the wording mean that development permissions must specifically be for ‘the carrying out of self-build and custom housebuilding’. In ascertaining whether demand has been met, local authorities can no longer count what ‘could’ be self-build and custom housing (all single plots for example) only what is actually permitted as such.
It has also been clarified that demand not met within 3 base periods will be rolled over to the next base period.
This will put a greater focus on local authorities developing plan policies to generate enough serviced plots to meet demand and working with developers in particular to make sure that plots are provided in sufficient numbers. It will also be imperative that permissions for self-build and custom housing are recorded as such and further regulation may set out exactly how this should be done. In measuring whether demand has been met, authorities will need to start at base period 1 – a potential problem if early recording of relevant permissions is not clear. There could be increase in planning appeals in some areas where developers seek to challenge authorities who have not provided sufficient permissions.