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Custom & self build housing

Self build or custom build is simply the process of designing, planning and building your own home, whether as an individual or as a group of people. They can be:

  • Self build homes: Self build 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. Self-building does not necessarily mean picking up bricks and physically getting stuck in. Most self-builders will be involved in the creative side of the process.
  • Custom build homes: Custom build describes a more 'hands-off' approach 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, but your home will be tailored to match your individual requirements.
  • Affordable self build housing: Self build housing may be considered as affordable housing where it complies with certain criteria’s. Such criteria’s will include that affordable housing is provided by a registered housing provider, to eligible households (as determined by local incomes and house prices), with any re-sales of the property limited to at most 80% of market value.

The self build and custom house building register

The Forest of Dean District Council is committed to supporting people to build their own home and keep a register to find out what the demand is for self-build/custom build plots in the area.  We will use the information to support negotiation with developers for self-build provision on larger housing sites and to guide future policy making.

Please note that signing up to the register, does not cannot guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified or made available to you. We do not offer assistance to individual self or custom house builders to identify or secure plots.

Eligibility for joining the Register

The Self-Build and Custom House building Regulations 2016 have allowed local authorities to set local eligibility criteria ("a local connection test"). We are introducing a local connection test from 9th February 2018 which will see the register divided into two parts.

In order to join the register you must meet the basic eligibility criteria set by Central Government:

  • You are aged over 18
  • You are a British citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland; and
  • You are Seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in the Forest of Dean District to build a house to occupy as your sole or main residence

Part 1 – People / groups of individuals who meet the local connection test

To be eligible to go on to the main part of the register (PART 1) you must:

  1. Meet the basic eligibility criteria (above); and
  2. You or your partner must meet one of the following local connection tests;
  • have had your only, or principal home in the Forest of Dean District for a continuous period of not less than three years immediately before applying to join the register
  • have been permanently employed in the Forest of Dean for a continuous period of not less than 1 year immediately prior to applying to join the register
  • have family members (only including parent, adult child, brother or sister) who live in the Forest of Dean and have done so for a continuous period of not less than 3 years prior to applying to join the register

*The only exception to the above will be members of the Armed Forces. Any person who is in the service of the regular armed forces of the Crown is deemed to satisfy the connection test, and anyone who has previously served in the armed forces will be deemed to satisfy the connection test for a period of 3 years after leaving service.

Please note that for associations applying to join the register each individual household in the association will need to meet the above criteria, for the association to qualify.

The Council may request applicants to provide suitable copies of evidence to demonstrate that they meet the above criteria.

The Council is only required to grant sufficient planning permissions for serviced plots to meet the demand from this part of the register.


If you meet the above eligibility criteria and wish to be included in Part 1 of the register you will be charged an entry fee of £75. For associations who are applying to join the register, the £75 will apply to each individual household in the association.

Part 2 - individuals or associations who meet the basic eligibility criteria but do not meet the local connection test

This part of the register keeps track of general demand for self-build and custom build and will inform planning policy and the Council’s overall approach to self-build and custom house building. There is no requirement for the Council to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced plots of land to meet this demand.


There will be an entry fee charge of £25 to be included on Part 2 of the register.

Join the Self Build Register

Pay self build register fee

What happens to your information?

The register will provide an indication of the demand for self-build and custom house building in Forest of Dean District and will help us inform the development of planning and housing policy.

The register will not be a public document, but headline information will be published annually in monitoring reports, for example, the number of plots and types of houses required.

We will not pass identifiable information from the Register onto anyone outside the Council without the written consent of the person who registered their details. If you would like to know more about how we use your personal information please read our Self Build Privacy Notice

Requests to be removed from the Register

We must remove your details from the register within 28 days of receiving a written notification to do so from either an individual or the lead contact of an association.

Further help and advice

For useful information about self build/custom build projects and what you will need to consider in deciding the right route for you please visit:

If you are looking for a building plot please visit:

For planning advice for a scheme or other self build questions, please:

External links