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Self-Build and Custom Build

Self-Build and Custom Build

For details of the consultation on the proposed Local Connection Test for the Self-build Register please scroll down this page

Are you interested in self-build or custom build housing?

We have set-up a register of people who are interested in self build or custom build projects in this area.

This register will help us find out more about the demand for custom and self-build plots in the South Downs National Park, where people would like their plot to be and the type of house that they would like to build.

  • What is self-build? What is custom build?

    Until recently building your own home was known as ‘self-build’. In 2011, the term ‘custom build housing’ was introduced in the Government’s Housing Strategy for England.

    Self-build projects are defined as those where someone directly organises the design and construction of their own home. This covers a wide range of projects including a traditional DIY self-build home to projects where the self-builder employs someone to build their home for them. Community-led projects can also be defined as self-build.

    Custom build homes are where you work with a developer as an individual or a group to help deliver your own home. The developer may help to find a plot, manage the construction and arrange the finance for your new home. This is more of a hands-off approach but your home will be tailored to match your individual requirements. 

    Affordable housing may also be self-built.

  • Self-build and custom-build register

    So that we can get a realistic idea of local demand, we would ask that you only register if you can meet the following criteria:

    • Be over 18 years of age;
    • Be a British citizen, a national of a European Economic Area State, or a national of Switzerland;
    • The property will be your main home

    At this stage, you are making no commitment – we are just trying to find out how much local demand there is for self-build housing.

    You are agreeing that we can use the data you provide to understand the demand for custom-build and self-build housing.

    In preparing this register, we are making no commitment to provide self-build or custom-build plots.

    The register will not be a public document, but we may publish headline data from it annually.

  • How do I remove myself from the register?

    We will remove an entry from the register within 28 days of receiving a written request from the individual or association representing that individual. 

    We will remove an entry from the register if we consider that they are no longer eligible for entry on the register and will notify them in writing. 

  • External links
      • Self-build and Custom Housing Act 2015 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/17/contents/enacted/data.htm
      • Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding (Register) Regulations 2016 www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/105/contents/made
      • The National Custom and Self-build Association website www.nacsba.org.uk
      • The National Custom and Self-build Toolkit customandselfbuildtoolkit.org.uk/#


Consultation on a Proposed Local Connection Test for Self-build and Custom housebuilding

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is proposing a local connection test (see below) for those wanting to record their interest in building their own home by applying to be included on the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register (the “Register”).

Consultation on the proposed local connection test is being carried out for eight weeks between Tuesday 11 January 2022 and Tuesday 08 March 2022. All responses to the consultation must be received before midnight on Tuesday 08 March 2022.

Please let SDNPA know your comments on the proposed local connection test as set out below. Further details about the Register and the local connection test are also set out below. If you have questions regarding this consultation please telephone 01730 814810 and ask to speak to Kevin Wright in the Planning Policy team or email planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk

Responses to the consultation must be made in writing and can be sent to the SDNPA in the following ways:

By email to planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk

By letter to Planning Policy, SDNPA, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DH

Proposed Local Connection Test

Any person that meets at least one of the following criteria when applying to be entered on the Self-build and Custom housebuilding register, is considered to have met the Local Connection Test and will be entered into Part 1 of the Register:

a) Have lived (as only home or principal residence) in the National Park (or in a split Parish, part of which is inside the National Park) continuously for at least the last two years; or
b) Have lived (as only home or principal residence) in the National Park (or in a split Parish, part of which is inside the National Park) continuously for three out of the last five years; or
c) Have immediate family* who have lived continuously in the National Park (or lived in a split Parish, part of which is inside the National Park) for at least the previous five years; or
d) Have been employed in the National Park for a minimum of 16 hours per week continuously for the last two years; or
e) You are a member of the armed forces, or an ex-member of the armed forces whose service ended within the last 5 years.

* Immediate family is defined as parents, adult siblings and adult children.

Further details

The SDNPA is required by law to keep a Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register. The Register provides evidence of demand for self-build and custom housebuilding within the National Park. Anyone seeking land to build their own home can apply to be on the Register providing they are at least 18 years of age and they are a British citizen, or a national of a European Economic Area State or a national of Switzerland. The criteria can also include a local connection test.

The effect of the local connection test is to separate the Register into Part 1 and Part 2.

Those applicants entered on Part 1 of the Register will meet the eligibility criteria and the local connection test. SDNPA has a duty to permit sufficient plots to meet the demand evidenced by the entries on Part 1 of the Register.

Those on Part 2 will meet the eligibility criteria only.

The entries on Part 1 and 2 of the Register will be taken into account by SDNPA when making planning decisions in the National Park.

Those on Part 2 of the Register can still build their own home in the National Park.

Being on Part 1 of the Register provides no entitlement to receive any plot permitted by the SDNPA.


" The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness. "