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Self-Build and Custom Build

Self-Build and Custom Build

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.

  • Part 1 and Part 2 register

    The Register is divided into Part 1 and Part 2.

    Those applicants entered on Part 1 of the Register will meet the eligibility criteria (see the section Self-build and custom-build register) and the local connection test. South Downs National Park Authority (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 register being divided into Part 1 and Part 2 followed the proposal and implementation of a Local Connection Test.

    The Local Connection Test was agreed by Planning Committee on 9 September 2021, subject to consultation which was carried out between 11 January and 8 March 2022.

    The final decision to implement the Local Connection Test was delegated to the Director of Planning in consultation with the Chair of Planning Committee provided no major matters arose as a result of the consultation.

    The Director of Planning, in consultation with the Chair of Planning Committee, agreed to implement the Local Connection Test.

    Further details can be found below.

    Report to Planning Committee, 9 September 2021 – see item 12

    Minutes of Planning Committee, 9 September 2021 – see item 12 on pages 14/15

    Report to Director of Planning (following consultation) – Appendix 1 of this report includes the SDNPA response to all the representations received in the consultation period 11 January to 8 March 2022.

  • Local Connection Test

    A local connection test is applied to all those applying to the register.

    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:

    1. Have lived (as only home or principal residence) in the National Park continuously for at least the last two years; and/or
    2. Have lived (as only home or principal residence) in the National Park continuously for three out of the last five years; and/or
    3. Have lived (as only home or principal residence) in the National Park for a total of 15 years or more; and/or
    4. Have immediate family* who have lived continuously in the National Park for at least the previous five years; and/or
    5. Have been employed in the National Park for a minimum of 16 hours per week continuously for the last two years; and/or
    6. You are a member of the UK armed forces, or an ex-member of the UK armed forces whose service ended within the last 5 years.

    *A person shall be taken to be an immediate family member of another’s family if he or she is the spouse, civil partner, mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son of that other person or if he or she ordinarily resides with that other person as husband or wife or partner but without being legally married to (or in a civil partnership with) that person. Immediate family includes relationships as described above with adopted and step relatives.

  • Registering your interest

    If you would like to register your interest for a custom or self-build plot, please complete the relevant application form.

    If you have an issue with accessing or using the registration forms, please contact planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk

  • 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. 

  • Further information and advice

    If you have any queries about the registration, or would like a copy of the registration form sent to you, please contact the Planning Policy Team either:

    By phone: 01730 814810

    By email: planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk

    By post:  Planning Policy Team, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH or planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk

  • 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/#



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