Local Connection Test for Buckinghamshire’s Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register consultation

Closed 8 Aug 2022

Opened 27 Jun 2022

Overview

Buckinghamshire Council logo

We want to hear your views on introducing a Local Connection Test for the Buckinghamshire Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register is a register that local authorities have to keep of people looking to acquire land within their area, to build a home. The register provides local authorities with level of demand. This can then be used to plan for future needs for this type of housing in their area.

Buckinghamshire Council was established in April 2020. The former District Councils (Aylesbury, Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks) each had their own registers. These registers were managed using different approaches.

We want to develop and maintain a single register in the Council area. The new approach will include local connection criteria that will split the register into two parts:

  • Part 1 - those who meet the national eligibility criteria and local connection criteria
  • Part 2 - those who meet the national eligibility criteria and other criteria but do not meet the local connection criteria

We would like to hear your views on introducing a Local Connection Test and its criteria.

The Local Connection Test criteria

A local connection test sets out a number of local eligibility criteria. An applicant has to meet at least one of these criteria with evidence to show their connection to the Council area.

Allowing the Council to operate a two-part register helps us to focus on local need and demand. Entries on Part 1 of the register will count towards the number of suitable serviced plots that should be accommodated on sites that are granted development permission.

To be on Part 1 of the register, we are proposing applicants would have to meet at least one of the following local connection criteria:

  1. Have lived in the council area continuously for 2 years or more immediately preceding the date of the application
  2. In employment within the Council area for at least 2 years or about to take up permanent employment in the council area immediately preceding the date of the application
  3. Have immediate family members (parents, children, siblings and spouse) who have lived in the council area for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of the application
  4. Currently serve in the regular armed forces of the Crown or have left regular service within the last 5 years

More Information

To join a self-build register, you must meet the national eligibility criteria set out by the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016:

  • Over 18 years old
  • Either a British citizen, a national of an EEA state (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or any member state of the European Union) or a national of Switzerland
  • Seeking to build a home as your sole or main residence

The Regulations also allow Councils to set their own local criteria to establish a local connection to their area. The new approach will include local connection criteria that will split the register into two parts as outlined above.

To be on Part 1 or 2 of the register, in addition to meeting the national criteria, you must:

  • satisfy any local eligibility conditions set by the Council
  • have paid any fee required by the Council to enter or remain on the register
  • be seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in the Council’s area for your own self-build and custom housebuilding project.

More Information

The Council can introduce fees to cover the costs of administering the Register. Any fees charged must be proportionate and not act as a deterrent for people to enter or remain in the register.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 also allows the Council to charge an entry fee to individuals and associations of individuals who apply to be entered on the register. The Council may also charge a different fee to an association of individuals than to individuals where the processing cost incurred is different.

Furthermore, the Council can charge a higher entry fee and an annual fee to those on the Part 1 register since their entry onto the register counts towards the number of suitable serviced plots that the Council should provide development permission.

The fees proposed in the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register for Buckinghamshire Council proposal, have been carefully considered to ensure they reflect the cost likely to be incurred by the use of Council resources.

We also carried out benchmarking which showed that fees charged by some Local Authorities ranged from £20 - £165. 

The cost recovery fees are not within scope of this consultation in-line with Planning Practice Guidance: Paragraph 034

Related documents and links

Before you respond to this activity, please have a look at the following documents and links:

How to have your say

You can tell us your views in one of the following ways

If you have any questions about this activity, please email us at planningpolicyteam.bc@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or phone us on 01296 383698. 

Please tell us your views by midnight on Monday 8 August 2022.

What happens next

We will carefully consider your responses and set out the key issues and the Council’s response in our consultation report. We will then make a recommendation for the final new approach to be adopted. If go-ahead is received, we plan to implement the new self-build register later in 2022.

Privacy

We will use the information you provide here only for this activity. We will store the information securely in line with data protection laws and will not share or publish any personal details. For more information about data and privacy, please see our Privacy Policy

If you have questions about data and privacy, please email us on dataprotection@buckinghamshire.gov.uk. Or write to our Data Protection Officer at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF.

Interests

  • Planning