Consultation report: single self-build and custom housebuilding register

As a unitary council, we are replacing the former district councils self-build registers with a single register for Buckinghamshire.

On 27 June we consulted on our single self-build and custom housebuilding register.

The consultation ran for 6 weeks and we invited your views on:

  1. Our new approach.
  2. The introduction of a local connection test that will split the register into 2 parts.

The consultation ended on 8 August 2022.

Consultation details

We wrote to everyone on the former districts' self-build registers, Parish Councils and relevant public bodies.

We did not consult on the fees but carried out a benchmarking exercise which showed that fees charged by some local authorities ranged from £20 to £165. Our cost analysis reflects that the fees to be charged will cover the cost of administering the register.

We received 74 responses. All but 6 of the respondents filled in the consultation survey via the Your Voice Bucks link provided. Of the 74 respondents, 6 either own a business or represent a community or voluntary group in Buckinghamshire. 4 of the respondents were elected representatives in Buckinghamshire.

Response analyses

More than 80% of respondents live in Buckinghamshire and there was overwhelming support for the introduction of a local connection test.

Just under half agreed with the local connection criteria and the length of connection required. Roughly equal proportions of respondents wanted either longer (16%) or shorter (13%) connection periods.

Of the respondents who made further comments, the main concerns/issues raised are:

  • people living close to the council boundaries will be disadvantaged as well as those who have an historic connection to the council area but have moved away for study or work
  • the criterion 'About to take up employment' is not a local connection but an anticipated future local connection and therefore should not be part of the criteria
  • with ‘having immediate family’, respondents want the term 'immediate' to be made clear as to its meaning in relation to the local connection test

Our response: proposed revisions to the registration process

  1. In the light of the consultation responses received, and after careful analysis, we have retained the 2-year criteria, because people who live close to Buckinghamshire boundary, as well as those who have historic connection to the council area, can register to be placed on the part 2 of the self-build register. We will also notify people on the part 2 register when self-build plots become available.
  2. For the employment criterion, we have removed the words ‘about to take up employment’ and replaced them with ‘persons must be in a permanent or in a continuous temporary employment within the council area for at least 2 years’.
  3. We have clearly defined ‘immediate family member’ on our website and on the registration form, to include parents, children, siblings or spouses.
  4. There was a feeling from the responses analysed that an applicant must meet all the local connection criteria. The requirement is for applicants to meet 1 of the criteria and this has been emphasised on the website.