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Unlocking Opportunities: A Guide for UK Land Owners and Farmers in Self-Building

More than 50% of individuals express a desire to build their own homes, however, the journey to homeownership is fraught with challenges.

Primarily the challenges faced are centred around acquiring the right land and navigating the complex realm of council planning permissions.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 emerges as a beacon of hope, aiming to diversify the housing market and, consequently, make more land available for those aspiring to construct their dream homes.

What does self-build mean

Self-build isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. It doesn’t solely imply personally hammering nails into wood; it extends to the hiring of contractors, builders, and architects to materialise one’s dream home.

The flexibility of this definition opens up avenues for a broader range of individuals, making the dream of building a home more accessible.

Opportunities for land and farm owners

Land and farm owners are in a unique position. They already possess the land, which, with the right permissions, could be transformed into a self-builder’s paradise.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 encourages self-building on plots of land, providing an opportunity for land and farm owners to apply for planning permission on their own grounds.

This strategic move reduces the risk for land and farm owners (as they already have the land, and now they just need the permission), resulting in a potentially higher-valued plot should applications be successful.

In turn, this could entice self-builders to buy, which could potentially yield a profitable outcome for the land and farm owners upon selling individual plots.

What does the legislation look like

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 introduces a structured approach.

Planning authorities must maintain and publicise a register of individuals eager to embark on their self-build journey.

Annual permissions granted by authorities must align with the numbers on this register, resembling a petition-like structure.

With that said, some local authorities fall short, leading to denied permissions despite probable successful applications.

Landowners and farmers stand to benefit by joining their local self-build planning register, facilitating more successful planning applications for the relative local authority.

Furthermore, the exemption of self-builds from the Community Infrastructure Levy provides an additional fiscal advantage, emphasising the importance of consulting tax specialists.

The planning process

Embarking on the planning journey requires guidance. Planning consultants and self-build home consultancies become invaluable allies.

A thorough exploration of the National Custom and Self-Build Association’s member directory can help to verify that consultants that are being used have self-build expertise.

Locational considerations are crucial — proximity to existing infrastructure enhances sustainability and can sometimes better align with the council’s ambitions.

Additionally, assessing service connections such as water, sewage, gas, and electricity is imperative, especially for lands situated far from current infrastructure. This can help to define if self-builds are going to be a feasible option or not, as they may impact costs drastically.

Multi-plot sites

For landowners with larger plots and farms, painting the aesthetics of their land should not overshadow the planning process.

Permissions can incorporate a palette in order to maintain design consistency and build a cohesive community rather than a collection of disparate houses.

The absence of traditional multi-plot developers also places landowners and farmers at the forefront, offering greater control and involvement throughout the process.

Landowners can also consider if they want to fund the project, or perhaps partner with a consultancy to merely just provide a plot with planning permission too.


In conclusion, the path to self-building for landowners and farmers is illuminated by the opportunities presented through legislative support and strategic planning.

By leveraging existing assets and navigating the planning landscape wisely, landowners can not only contribute to the housing market but also realise the potential for financial gains while fostering a sense of community in the self-building journey.

This article is purely intended as a helpful guide and not professional advice. Potential buyers should consult an independent professional prior to purchasing any land, property, or investment vehicle.

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