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What is self-build and custom housebuilding?

Self-build is where the individual partly or wholly controls the design, funding, planning and building of a home. This can involve building part or all of a home oneself or alternatively hiring a contractor to do the same. Self-builders can work as individuals or as a group, for their own occupation.

Custom housebuilding is where the home is custom built to the individual’s specification as opposed to being designed and built by a construction company to a standard specification for sale.

Self-build can offer an alternative to traditional home ownership and an opportunity to own a sustainable and high quality designed home.

Self-build and custom housebuilding register

Tewkesbury borough council is committed to supporting both affordable and market housing and is working to make it easier for more people to build their own home.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 places a duty on local authorities to maintain a register of people who have expressed an interest in self-build and custom build projects.

Tewkesbury borough council maintains a self-build register to collect information on the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding in Tewkesbury borough and helps provide information to those who are interested.

If you register, at this stage you are not making any commitment. By signing up, you will help us find out more about the demand for self and custom build plots in Tewkesbury borough. Registration does not guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified, or become available.

We will use the information on the register to guide local policy on self-build homes. However, in preparing this register, we are making no commitment to provide self-build or custom-build plots.


To join the self and custom housebuilding register you need to meet the following criteria, as set out in The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding (Register) Regulations 2016. These apply to individuals or each individual in an association who are looking to take on a project:

  • You are aged 18 or over.
  • You are a British Citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland.
  • You meet the local connection test (for entry to Part 1 only). Please view local connection test below.
  • You (either alone or with others) are seeking to acquire a serviced plot of land* in Tewkesbury borough to build a house to occupy as your main residence.

* A ‘serviced plot of land’ means a plot that has access to a public highway and connections for electricity, water and wastewater.

We will let you know if you will be included in the register within 28 days. We may ask for documents to prove your eligibility. If your application isn’t eligible, we will give you reasons.

We will review the register every 12 months. We can remove any entry from the register if we think that the individual or any member of an association, is no longer eligible.

Local connection test

In March 2018 the borough council introduced a local connection test for entry on to the self-build and custom housebuilding register. The local connection test enables the council to ensure that the register is reflective of the local demand for plots.

This means that the register is now split into two parts:

Part 1: those applications who meet the locally set criteria

Part 2: those applicants who don’t meet the criteria

Those entered onto the register prior to the introduction of the local connection test in March 2018 are placed on Part 1 of the register, regardless of whether they meet the local connection test. However, we may remove any entry on the register if we think that the individual or any member of an association is no longer eligible, as set out above.

You may have a local connection to Tewkesbury borough if:

  • you have lived in the area for the last six months or more continuously
  • you have previously lived in the area for six out of the last twelve months
  • you have previously lived in the area for three out of the last five years
  • you have permanent (not seasonal or temporary) employment in the area
  • you have family members (parents, siblings or children) who live in the area AND they have lived here for the last five years or more continuously
  • you are in the service (or the immediate preceding five years) of the regular armed forces of the Crown; or
  • any other special circumstance.

These criteria meet with The Self-build & Custom Housebuilding (Register) Regulations 2016 and are taken from the Housing Act 1996 Part 7 Para 199 Local Connection.

The council must have regard to the entries on both Part 1 and 2 when carrying out planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration functions. However, the council is only required to consider the number of applicants on the Part 1 register when meeting the duty to provide sufficient planning consents (planning permissions) for self and custom build plots.

If you register, it doesn’t guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified or become available. We do not offer assistance to individual self or custom housebuilders to identify or secure plots, over and above that set out on this webpage.

Personal information will not be shared with a third party without your express consent.

How do I register?

If you have any issues using the online form, please contact us.

If you have a building plot

If you have a plot(s) for sale check our redacted self build public register for details of those wishing to purchase land.

Redacted Self-Build Register (CSV) last updated 09 May 2023.

If you would like to be put in contact with anyone on the register please complete this online form.

If you have difficulty with the online form, please contact us.

Sources of help, advice and funding

There is a vast amount of information available online about building your own home. The following sources are for your information. These are external websites, unless otherwise stated, which will open in a new window. The council do not have responsibility for their content. They are provided as a guide only.

If you are looking for a building plot visit:

Both Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council publicise property for rent and sale. Please visit:

The Planning portal provides a range of guidance on self-build projects from considering the location, planning permission and acquiring land, to financing a project and selecting professional skills and trades.

For help finding what type of self build is best for you and your budget visit:

If you are a private sector organisation interested in self-build and custom housebuilding you may be eligible to apply for loan funding from the home building fund. The home building fund is open to small builders, community builders, custom builders and regeneration specialists. Visit their website for more information.

If you are interested in self-build shared ownership and working with a registered provider, please visit the Homes and Communities Agency website for further information.

The council also collects information about small sites with planning consent and more information can be found on our monitoring page..

We also receive and at times ask for submissions of land that can be considered as part of local plan preparation for housing and other land uses. This is called the assessment of land availability. This is a live document that identifies land that has been submitted to the council for consideration. It does not mean the site will gain planning permission. Further information can be found on our evidence base webpage.


Saving for a deposit

Often saving for a deposit is the hardest part of getting on the housing ladder for those purchasing new and existing homes and for self-builders and custom-builders themselves. For this reason the government have created the help to buy: ISA, which pays first-time buyers a government bonus. Find out more at: