Inspector Dismisses Appeal for Self Build Exemption

While self builders are usually exempt from paying the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), an inspector has dismissed one family’s appeal against Croydon Council’s decision to refuse exemption. This came after the council found that the family had already started work on site before the council had confirmed their qualification for exemption.

Michael Holmes, Chair of NaCSBA (National Custom and Self Build Association), says: “The inspector’s decision must be a huge blow to the family involved. Self build budgets are usually tight, so this extra unexpected burden resulting from them starting on site too soon is likely to have been very difficult to absorb.”

NaCSBA has advised self builders to read the rules for the exemption carefully, especially the definition of commencement which can be found here.

CIL Exemption Announced: 24 February 2014

Today self builders got the long awaited news that CIL exemption has come into force. As of 24 February 2014 anyone building their own home will be exempt from the Community Infrastructure Levy which was introduced following the Planning Act of 2008.

The intention of CIL was to raise the funds necessary for the strains new developments would add to local services such as roads, schools and public amenities. However, since its imposition, it has been argued that one off self builds do not create that great an impact on local services, and the levy was deemed unfair. Some self builders were being charged in excess of £60,000.

On Monday 10 February, we reported on the parliamentary discussion on CIL relief for self builders, but had not then been given a date for the exemption to come into action. Today’s announcement thus comes as a great relief for all of us in the self build community.

To be exempt from charges, self builders will need to apply with a Declaration and Commencement form and receieve acknowledgement from their local authority before starting building work. NaSBA recommends that all self builders apply at the planning stage as you will not be allowed exemption if you apply after any building work (even laying foundations) begins. You will also need to submit documents showing proof of occupation no later than six months after completion.

We will keep you informed with more advice on applying for exemption over the coming months.

In the mean time, you can find the forms for CIL relief at the bottom of this page from the Planning Portal.

Amendments to CIL proposed: 12 February 2014

On Monday 10 February, Parliament discussed amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy that was brought into force in April 2010. After concerns have been raised by those in the self build community, it has been confirmed that the exemption for self builders will start in about a month.

Nick Boles, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, lead the committee and expressed the Government’s commitment to anyone who wants to build their own home. He also said that they were keen to “double the size of the self build housing sector”.

To ensure that the exemption is not abused, self builders will be asked to complete a simple form at the start and end of their project to prove that they will be living in the house themselves and have not built it to sell on.

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw – who has been a strong supporter of the exemption – was also present. He highlighted the hindrance that CIL has been to self builders, and cited the story of a young couple in Tuxford who had been asked to pay £64,000 up front, to build their first home.

Mann also asked Boles to clarify that the term ‘self builder’ would be used to denote anyone who was building their home, whether with their own hands or through use of a contractor. Boles confirmed that the definition of self build includes “custom built housing and community projects that are for owner occupation”.

The relief will also extend to extensions and the building of non-attached residential units within the curtilage of a home, such as granny annexes.

The full transcript of the meeting makes for an interesting read, as the subject of large scale developments and the agenda for empty homes is discussed. It is available here.

Exemption Debated: 16 September 2013

Self Builders are set to receive more support from the coalition government after they have confirmed that all self and custom build projects will be exempt from the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 tariffs.

This is in addition to other measures that will be brought in to increase affordable housing and ease the financial strain on those looking to build their own home.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow in September, Communities Minister and MP for Bath, Don Foster, said that people wanting to build affordable homes in their local area will also have access to a £65m Affordable Homes Guarantee Programme.

He added that they hope these measures will dispell the misconception that self build is a pastime of the privileged.

The Community Infrastructure Levy was brought into force in April 2010.

It was seen as a justified means to raise funds for the added impact that new developments have on local amenities such as roads and schools. Local authorities in England and Wales were given the choice to impose it on any new home that requires planning permission.

However, following lobbying by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) MPs had started to listen and the move for exemption has finally come through.

This is a welcome reprieve to those who are often faced with a charge in excess of £20,000 for their project – something that has deterred many from going ahead with their build.

Fingers crossed this gives the go-ahead to far more people planning a self build project in the UK at present. It certainly shows the government’s commitment to making self build a mainstream option.

Articles like this Comments
  • Antony Atkins

    So, if a land developer secures planning permission for a small collection of houses and then sells the plots to individual self-builders through an estate agent, Plotfinder etc, does this mean any CIL and S106 tax imposed by the local authority by planning condition is waived?

    How about affordable homes requirements? i.e. let’s say the developer secures permission for 6 houses, of which two (33%) would normally be given to a housing association for social housing, on top of S106 and CIL taxes. If the developer sells the plots on to self-builders, is the requirement to build social housing removed as well?

    I ask because this exemption for self-builders means there could be a huge incentive for small builders and developers to give up building houses and just develop land, as they can sell their sites-with-planning on to self-builders and everyone avoids the local authority’s taxes.

  • Anonymous

    You’re absolutely right Tony. I think all of the details of this have yet to be decided (and will only be announced once it goes through Parliament) but, given the strong opposition of regular developers and some councils to self-build CIL and AHC etc exemption, they might find themselves strangely encouraged to promote self-build on their plots. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out, for sure – but it will undoubtedly lead to more self-build plots.

  • Neil Mcdermid

    Please can you provide an update on whether the exemption is now officially approved or the expected timing if it is still pending.thanks

  • Antony Atkins

    It will be interesting to see if Labour via the Shadow Housing minister Emma Reynolds will support this exemption. She has spoken recently of wishing to increase support for small builders and self-builders, but actual proposals appear restricted to requiring public land sales to make greater allowance for these groups, which is only a small element of overall land supply.

  • Lindsey Davis

    Hi Keri,

    The latest official news was back in October when the government confirmed that the exemption was going forward and said that changes should come into effect at the end of this month (subject to the Parliamentary process).

    Here is a link if you want to read the official Government stance:

    It’s all gone a bit quiet for now. Fingers crossed that is because they are busy process the changes and holding news until it has come in to effect.


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