NaCSBA’s annual Freedom of Information request has been sent out to all organisations in England responsible for planning, including local authorities and National Parks.
The information gathered from the 317 local authorities and 10 National Parks will be used to create a picture of activity across the country, analysing which authorities are successfully fulfilling their duties, as set out by the Right to Build.
This enables NaCSBA to track the numbers of people signed up to the self build registers, both individuals and groups, and assess the ways in which local authorities are saying they are fulfilling their responsibilities.
The request asks each authority to list the number of plots they have permissioned against those on the registers, to build a picture of wider activity. This information is then shared, including with government, to inform practice.
Since 2017 NaCSBA has been tracking this activity. As well as tracking people registered and plots permissioned, the request reveals other valuable data. This includes which authorities are charging for access, which have local connection tests, and which have Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
The CIL is a useful measure for self build, as anyone building a home for themselves can apply for exemption, which single open-market homes would not be eligible for, giving a more realistic reflection of activity.
Last year the analysis raised a worrying picture of activity, with significant variations in what councils were considering as self or custom build ‘plots’. This was in relation to demonstrating that they had granted planning permission to sufficient plots to reflect the demand on their registers, for a given period.
In some instances, councils were stating that every stand alone plot was a self build plot, even when speculatively built by a builder to sell as a completed home on the market.
This year, the questions have been refined to ensure that the data compiled will be more standardised, helping NaCSBA to compare between authorities.
To do this the request includes a range of tables – and councils can access the form here, available in Word.
Last year, the Freedom of Information revealed a collection of poor practice that NaCSBA termed ‘dirty tricks’, with many authorities working to limit those people on their registers.