What is ‘Right to Build’?
Designing and building your own property can be the ultimate way to create your dream home. Whether you’re designing a home that will last a lifetime, envisaging a bespoke aesthetic or realising an investment opportunity, finding the right site for your new project is essential.
Fortunately, the ‘Right to Build’ scheme gives you the chance to register your interest in a plot and the appropriate planning permission. By using the ‘Right to Build’ scheme to notify your local authority of your interest, you can secure the land you need and the relevant authority to begin your self-build project.
How Does ‘Right to Build’ Work?
Introduced under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, every local authority in England is required to maintain a ‘Right to Build’ register. Once you add your name to the relevant register, the local authority has a duty to help find land and ensure that the relevant planning permission is granted.
In a bid to increase the number of self-build homes in England, the scheme is designed to help people overcome one of the most challenging obstacles that arise when you’re planning your own development: finding the right plot.
Prior to the ‘Right to Build’ scheme, minimal land was available for people who wanted to design and build their own homes. As a result, very few people were able to design and construct their own homes, even if they had the funding and professional support in place.
Now that local authorities have a duty to make land available for this purpose, the number of self-build homes is increasing. As a result, people are finding it easier to get on the property ladder and have the opportunity to create a unique home that meets their needs and reflects their style.
Is the Land Ready to Build On?
Under the legislation, each local authority has to make ‘serviced plots’ available to those who want to build their own homes. This means that the plot must have connections for water, wastewater and electricity or that these connections can be provided within a specific timeframe or in specified circumstances. Additionally, a site must be connected to a public highway to be deemed a ‘serviced plot’.
For would-be housebuilders, this is good news. Any land that’s offered to you by the local authority under the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme must meet the definition of a ‘serviced plot’, which reduces the amount of work required to get the project underway. Once you begin working with your architect Wandsworth and get plans finalised, you’ll be ready to break ground and begin constructing your dream home.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Plot?
Although every local authority in England has a duty to supply land under the ‘Right to Build’ scheme, they don’t have to do it immediately. In fact, they have three years from when you register to find you a serviced plot. If you are planning to build your own home in the near future, it’s advisable to add your name to the register early on, so that any waiting period doesn’t derail your plans.
On 30th October every year, also known as ‘Right to Build Day’, local authorities must provide evidence that they’re fulfilling their duties, so you can double-check that waiting times aren’t being exceeded in your area.
While it can be disappointing to learn that you might have to wait for some time to secure a serviced plot, there’s still plenty that can be done to get your project underway in the meantime. By working with an architect Wandsworth and finding suitable contractors, for example, you can ensure that your plans are ready to be put into action as soon as a plot becomes available.
Can You Choose a Serviced Plot?
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to select the exact plot you’d like under the ‘Right to Build’ scheme. Instead, you’ll be offered a serviced plot that’s deemed suitable for a self-build property. Of course, you don’t have to accept the plot if it doesn’t fit your needs. However, finding suitable land for a self-build home can be challenging, so think carefully before turning down a plot that’s made available to you under the scheme.
When you add your name to the register, you’ll usually be asked to supply details of the type of plot you’re looking for. While this can increase the likelihood of you being offered a plot that meets your needs, there’s no guarantee that it will be your ‘dream site’.
Do You Have to Live in the Area to Register with the Scheme?
Every local authority in England has its own ‘Right to Build’ register and some authorities do require you to have a ‘local connection’. However, when a local authority insists that applicants have a local connection to the area, they are usually required to run two separate registers: one for those who meet this requirement and one for those that don’t.
If you meet the requirement and live, work or have an alternative connection to the area, your local authority will have a duty to find you a serviced plot within three years. However, if you don’t meet the ‘local connection’ requirement, you can still be offered a serviced plot under the scheme, although the local authority won’t have a duty to make one available to you.
Is There a Fee to Register a ‘Right to Build’?
Local authorities do have the ability to charge a fee to anyone who wants to register with their ‘Right to Build’ scheme. Not all local authorities charge but many do. However, fees should be ‘reasonable’ in relation to the cost of maintaining the register, so you shouldn’t be charged a particularly high amount to add your name.
Is the Self-Build Process Right for You?
There’s no doubt that building your own home can be a challenging prospect, but it’s an exciting one too! With help from professional architects, designers, builders and tradespeople, you can get to work creating the home of your dreams and, with the ‘Right to Build’ scheme, you could achieve your goal more quickly than you realise!
Photos by cottonbro, Ivan Samkov, Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels