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Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

Purpose of a Custom and Self-Build Register

Cumberland Council as a local planning authority (LPA) is responsible for keeping a Local Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register as set out in section 1 of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.The Act places a duty on the Authority to have regard to the register when carrying out planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration functions.

The register is currently based on the three areas for the former Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland.

The custom/self build register will provide valuable information and evidence on the demand for self-build and custom house building. This is a register of people and associations that are seeking to acquire serviced plots to build their own homes to occupy as their sole or main residence.

A serviced plot of land has access to a public highway and connections for electricity, water and waste water.

Custom/self build housing is defined as:

“Homes built or commissioned by individuals or groups of individuals for their own use, either by building the homes on their own, by employing builders or buying bespoke designs from a developer”

For more information regarding the Self–build and Custom House Building (Register) Regulation 2016 follow this link

How to enter onto the register

Applicants can register as individual or as an association (a group of people wanting to build together).  Each individual or member of an association of individuals that applies for entry must be:

  • aged 18 or older;
  • a British citizen, a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland; and
  • seeking (alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot of land in the Carlisle district area to build a house to occupy as that individual’s sole or main residence.

Individuals who wish to register as an association must appoint a member or officer to act as the lead contact for the purposes of correspondence.

If you are part of a couple or other household group that wants to register for a single plot, please complete the ‘individual’ application.  If you are representing a self build group and would like to make an application on behalf of the group, please complete the ‘association’ application. 

Once you have submitted your application we will notify you within 28 days as to the success of your application for entry to the register. 

If you wish to apply to join the register please download the appropriate form for

  • individual self-builders; or 
  • associations of self-builders (if you are part of a group).

The form should then be returned to the e-mail address or postal address on the bottom of the form.

Finding a Self-Build Plot

The Council will notify customers on the Custom and Self-Build Register whenever we become aware of any sites providing serviced plots for self/ custom build receiving planning permission.  We will also inform you of any other useful information, including details of any local events relating to custom or self-build housing.

One of the first challenges that a self or custom builder faces is the price and availability of land. Local knowledge of an area may assist you in identifying potential plots.  More information is available on the Land Registry Website including details of land searches etc. (which may incur a fee).

Local estate and land agents hold mailing lists of those searching for a building plot.  Register with agents and keep in regular communication with them.

Other resources available to you that include plot search facilities:
The Self Build Portal
Self Build Directory
Build Store

Planning Permission

Self builders are subject to the planning rules and should familiarise themselves with the planning application process.  Find out more about planning advice and guidance on the Council’s planning pages.

Custom and Self-Build Mortgages

Further information is available regarding mortgages for custom and self-build housing.on BuildStore and Self-Build.

Custom and Self-Build Grants

The Council has established a grant scheme to help Custom and Self-Builders through providing a contribution, up to a maximum of £2,000, towards the initial set-up costs of their build project.  The grant can be used towards recovering the cost of Planning Application and Building Control charges as well as architect's fees.  The grant application form is included in the downloadable documents section of this page - details of supporting information required are included on the form. 

Grants are not available retrospectively to people who already owned a plot prior to applying to join the Council's Custom and Self-Build Register.

Self-Build Plots with Planning Permission in Carlisle Area

1. St. John's Hall, Cumwhinton: Outline planning permission was granted in August 2020 for 5 custom or self-build plots on the site adjacent to St John’s Hall, Cumwhinton (detailed planning permission will be required for each plot).  Full details of the planning application (reference 19/0898) are available via the following link to the Council’s Planning Webpage: Visit Planning Application website

For further information please contact:-

Simon Blacker

SRE Associates (Planning & Development Consultancy)

Mobile: 07734983598

E-mail: [email protected]

2. Holme Meadow, Cumwhinton: Approval was given in October 2021 for 9 Custom/ Self-Build plots at Land North of Holme Meadow, Cumwhinton.  (Please note: there is still a Section 106 legal agreement to be signed by the Council and the applicant before development can proceed but this is just a standard arrangement and hopefully won’t delay matters significantly.)

If you would be interested in receiving further information, please contact the site owner, Mr Frank Lowe: e-mail [email protected] / tel. 07967 985465.

The planning application can be accessed by clicking on the following link Simple Search ( and typing in reference 21/0698.

LABC Custom Build Guide Book

Information is available in the LABC Custom Build Guide Book

Low Cost Housing Scheme

We work with private developers to secure discounted sale properties on new housing developments. The properties we negotiate depend on the location of the development and the identified housing need in that area. Most of the properties are sold at a 30% discount from market value, although the discounts are smaller on some of the earlier developments. Find out more about Low Cost Housing.

Cumbria and Lancaster Community Led Housing Hub

The Cumbria and Lancaster Community Led Housing Hub is hosted by ACT (Action with Communities in Cumbria) who have 70 years experience of working with local community groups.  The Hub is the first port of call for local community groups interested in building their own homes - providing advice, resources and useful contacts.  For further information please access the Hub's Website using the following link: .

Useful Contacts

Links are provided below to the Websites for Custom Build Homes and BuildStore, who provide a comprehensive range of services to assist custom and self-builders:


This A to Z of services list provides links to service pages alphabetically