What exactly is the ‘Right to Build’ scheme?

In recent years, there’s been a strong emphasis on improving housing supply and design standards in the UK, which is evident from the many schemes and policies that have been introduced. At Home Tales, although not within the scope of works, we believe prospective homeowners and home extension companies in London should be aware of these changes. When dealing with a prospective home extension, we like to carry out an investigation on the property and its surroundings to better inform us on what proposals will be approved. Areas with Right to Build plots may influence this.

You might have heard of the ‘Right to Build’ Scheme multiple times in the last decade, but what does it really mean, and how can it benefit you?

What is it?

The Right to Build Scheme was introduced back in August 2016 to encourage more self-build homes in the UK. This means all local authorities in England are required to provide those on the Right to Build register, a serviced plot of land. It will also come with planning permission for whatever home you’d like to build, whether it’s a townhouse or some apartments. You can contact your local council to find out how to place yourself on the list.

Why does it exist?

This scheme was created to mitigate the increasing number of volume house builds (large developments), which have ultimately led to an increase in housing prices and decline in overall quality. Large developments are great for providing swift and attractive housing, making them perfect for reaching the government’s housing goals. However, they are notorious for their lack of design considerations, as some only utilise a small range of floor plans. The Right to Build scheme streamlines the self-build process, showing the need for these homes in order to add character and value to a street. The prospective homeowner would be able to express their unique style, design their property to match their needs, and challenge the cookie-cutter house builds.

How long does it take to get?

All local authorities have an obligation to find you a serviced plot of land within 3 years, so its best to put your name on as early as possible. During this waiting period, you can look for the perfect Architect, interior designer, and builder for your project, and have them at the ready. Every year on October 30th there is a ‘Right to Build Day’. On this day, your local council must provide appropriate evidence that they are trying to find the plot of land.

How much does it cost?

Generally, it is free to put your name on the Right to Build register, but some authorities may charge for this service. In terms of the actual build, the plot of land comes with connections for water, wastewater, electricity, and access to a public highway. This, along with pre-approved planning permission, cuts out a lot of these initial costs that can rack up a pretty penny. For the house design, that is all dependent on your budget, who you hire, and what you require. Will you be building it on your own, hiring a local contractor and architect, etc.? All these factors need to be considered when creating your budget.

Are small builds better than a big build?


These home builds can be designed specifically to meet your needs, so you have control over every aspect of the layout and look. When the local authority allows more of these builds, it better informs the council on the parameters of future project proposals. Therefore, improving the overall housing design standard in the local community, as volume house builders would also have to abide by them. This means large-scale developers will be forced to produce more client-led designs. A personalised build also allows the owner to express their style and have a stronger connection with their home.


A volume house builder is amazing for those that do not have the budget for a custom home. They typically offer competitive prices as they purchase materials in bulk and do not need to work with specialist features and equipment. It also offers better security, as these builders have a set range of plans and designs on offer which have been utilised many times in the past, meaning there is more insurance that these builds are structurally sound. If you are not too fussed on customising your home, and prefer a hands-off approach, this type of build is perfect for you.

Who benefits from it?

Traffic to large developers will be diverted to local builders, providing more jobs and income for contractors that are part of the community. The town also benefits from the added personality to its streets, with various styles and diverse households. First time buyers benefit from the overall eventual decline in housing prices.

What if I don’t like the location?

If you are offered a serviced plot of land, but don’t like where it is, you are in no way obligated to accept the offer. On the other hand, you cannot pick and choose where your plot will be, so that part is entirely up to your local planning authority. Therefore, this offer must be carefully considered as you cannot be offered an alternative.

We hope you now have a better understanding of the Right to Build Scheme and feel more confident with your future self-build endeavours. If you would like to discuss any other prospective home renovation projects, we would love to hear from you on 02070432378. Alternatively, you can email us at hello@hometales.co.uk or book a telephone consultation with us here.

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