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On 12 June 2014 Richard Bacon secured fourth place in the Private Members’ Bill ballot. He presented the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Bill on 2 July. The Bill secured Government and cross-party support; after completing its parliamentary stages it obtained Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.

The Act builds on existing Government initiatives, particularly the proposed ‘Right to Build,’ with the aim of increasing the number of self/custom built properties in England and Wales. The Act’s provisions will improve the data held on the demand for self/custom build and place a requirement on authorities to have regard to individuals/bodies who have expressed an interest in acquiring land for self-build purposes when carrying out their housing and planning functions. A Money Resolution and a Ways and Means Resolution in respect of the Bill were agreed on 25 November 2014.

During the Bill’s progress through Parliament clauses 1-6 were agreed without substantive amendment. Technical amendments to the long title were agreed so it is now: “An Act to place a duty on certain public authorities to keep a register of individuals and associations of individuals who wish to acquire serviced plots of land to bring forward self-build and custom housebuilding projects and to place a duty on certain public authorities to have regard to those registers in carrying out planning and other functions.”  This reflects the narrower scope of the Act than that presented on First Reading.

A consultation paper, the Right to Build: supporting custom and self build, was published in October 2014 to coincide with the Bill’s Second Reading. The outcome of the consultation process was announced in March 2015: Right to Build: supporting custom and self build: government response to consultation.  The then Government said it would build on the legislative framework provided by the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 to introduce a Right to Build under which local authorities would be required to bring forward plots of land for registered custom builders in a reasonable time.  There is an ongoing pilot of the Right to Build in 11 local authority/National Park Authority areas.

The Conservative Party’s 2015 Manifesto contained a commitment to introduce a Right to Build with the aim of doubling the number of self and custom build homes by 2020. Measures to take forward the Right to Build will be included in a forthcoming Housing Bill.

Detailed background on the self/custom housebuilding sector in England can be found in Library Briefing Paper 06784, Self-build and custom build housing (England).

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