For individuals interested in self-build and custom housebuilding

Self-build and custom housebuilding is housing built by individuals, for their own use, either by building the home on their own or by working with builders.

Self-build and custom housebuilding register

We are required by law to hold a register of people who are interested in self-build and custom housebuilding in Bedford Borough.

This register also includes people wanting to acquire serviced plots of land for self-build and custom housebuilding.

Read more about the self-build and custom housebuilding, legislation and the register:

We consider the register when carrying out our functions in relation to planning, housing, regeneration and the disposal of any land owned by the Council.

The register is not publicly available. Registration does not guarantee that a suitable plot to meet your specific needs will be made available.

Qualifying for the register

To be included on the register you must be:

  • age 18 or over
  • a British citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland
  • wanting to acquire a serviced plot of land to build a house to occupy as your sole or main home

Apply for inclusion on the register

To apply for your details to be placed on the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register as an individual, please download the below form and send your completed form (and any supporting evidence requested) to

The guidance notes for completing the form are below.

As of 12 January 2023, following the 2021 annual register update, the Bedford Borough Council self-build and custom housebuilding register consists of:

  • Individuals Part 1 = 60
  • Individuals Part 2 = 48
  • Associations Part 1 = 0
  • Associations Part 2 = 0
  • Total entries on register = 108

Updating an entry on the register

You can change or remove your details by emailing or writing to:

Housing Strategy Team
Bedford Borough Council
Cauldwell Street
MK42 9AP

If you would like more information, view our how to obtain planning permission or obtain building regulations approval webpages.

Guidance notes for individuals

If you would like to be included on Bedford Borough Council's Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register (the Register) you must first complete an application form. These notes will help you.

The Individual application form is for the use of a single person, couple or group of people from one household (a group of individuals who live as part of a family unit under one roof) jointly seeking to acquire one plot of land. 

If you are a couple or group from one household, you should nominate a lead person to complete the application form.

If you are an association or group of self or custom builders (ie not from one household and requiring more than one plot), please complete the separate Association application form and read the separate Association guidance notes.

Where you are asked to tick boxes, a tick or a cross may be used.

Purpose of the Register

The purpose of the Register is to provide evidence about the scale of demand for self and custom build in the local authority area. Registration does not guarantee that a suitable plot to meet your specific needs will be made available.

Section 1: Qualification to be included on the Register

For your details to be placed on the Register, you must meet all the criteria in Section 1 of the Application Form. You must tick 1a, at least one of the options at 1b, and 1c. If you are not able to make these confirmations your application will be rejected. We will not normally ask for evidence to be submitted in respect of 1a and 1b but reserve the right to do so.

Section 2: About you

All applicants must complete 2a to 2d in this section so we can make contact with you.

A date of birth confirms that you are over 18 years of age (a legislative requirement for entry on the Register).

Please provide both an email address and phone number if you have them so that we have different ways of getting in touch if we need to clarify anything in relation to your application, ongoing registration or to give you information about self-build/custom build opportunities. We will not share or use your personal details for any other purpose.

In respect of 2e, it is helpful to know if you have registered your interest with other local authorities because currently there is no reliable information about the extent to which this is happening. The answer to this question will not affect the likelihood of you being notified about the availability of self-build/custom build plots in Bedford Borough.

Section 3: Connection to Bedford Borough (Local Eligibility)

The Register is held in two parts. In this section you can provide evidence to show that in addition to meeting the criteria in Section 1, you can evidence that you meet at least one of the local connection eligibility criteria (3a to 3d) below.

Those who evidence that they meet at least one of the eligibility criteria will be placed on Part 1 of the Register and will be given priority when self-build/custom build plots become available through the planning process.

You only need to tick one box (3a, 3b, 3c or 3d) to demonstrate your eligibility to join Part 1. Evidence should be in the form of photocopied or scanned documents (please do not send originals in the post). Official documentation other than that specifically stated may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances if it proves to the satisfaction of the Council that the criterion has been met.  If you are genuinely unable to provide evidence in the form required please email the Housing Strategy Team at to seek further assistance.

Your completed form and copies of supporting documents should be returned to the address at the bottom of this guidance note.

People who qualify to go on the Register but cannot demonstrate that each member meets one of the local connection criteria will be entered on Part 2 of the Register.

3a: Must have lived in Bedford Borough for at least three of the last five years

Please provide either copied/scanned Council Tax bills, bank statements or utility bills showing your name and address and dates to evidence that you have lived in Bedford Borough for at least three of the last five years.

3b: Have a close relative who has lived in Bedford Borough for at least three of the last five years

Close relatives are defined as mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, grandchildren, adult children and corresponding step relations. Please provide copied/scanned Council Tax bills, bank statements or utility bills showing relative’s name and address to evidence that the close relative has lived in Bedford Borough for at least three of the last five years.

3c: Have worked (or have a household member who has worked) in permanent employment in Bedford Borough for an average of at least 16 hours per week over the previous 12 weeks, or have retired and have fulfilled this criterion immediately prior to retirement 

A household member is defined as an individual who lives as part of a family unit under one roof. Examples of acceptable evidence include:

  • Copied/scanned P60 or pay slips showing the hours worked per week and location of employer (in Bedford Borough)
  • Confirmation from employer (present or past) on Company headed paper or email that you meet the criteria.
  • If self-employed, VAT Registration Certificate, proof of business bank account showing your details, covering the relevant period.

3d: In HM Armed Forces or have left the Armed Forces within last five years

Please provide a copy/scan of UK Military ID card MOD Form 90 as evidence.

Section 4: Location Preference

In this section you can tell the Council where you would prefer to self/custom build your home. This information is only gathered so that the Council knows where there are areas of high demand. Your future plot purchase options will not be restricted to the areas you select in Section 4.

  • If you have no preference, please select 4a and tick no other box in Section 4. Move on to Section 5.
  • If you would like a plot anywhere except the urban area of Bedford and Kempston, please select 4b and tick no other box in section 4. Move on to Section 5.
  • If you are able to give a firmer idea of your preferred location, please select up to three options from the table and enter them in order of preference at 4c. For example, if your first preference is within the ‘Elstow, Wixams, Wilshamstead, Shortstown, Cotton End, Cardington, Cople, Willington’ grouping, please put ‘F’ in the box at ‘Preferred Area Option 1’. If your second preference is within the ‘Bromham, Stagsden, Biddenham, Great Denham, Kempston Rural, Wootton, Stewartby’ grouping please place ‘E’ in the box at Preferred Area Option 2 and so on.

Section 5: Self/Custom build preferences

This section asks for information that will be helpful to those providing self/custom build opportunities. Please follow the instructions and tick only one box for sections 5b. 5c and 5e. For 5a and 5d, please tick all options that apply. 

Section 6: Timescales

This section asks for information that will be helpful to those providing self/custom build opportunities. Please tick only one box. If you are unsure, please choose the most likely option.

Section 7: Finance

This section asks for information that will be helpful to those providing self/custom build opportunities. It gives an indication of how financially prepared those on the Register are to commence their self/custom build project.

Section 8: Any other comments

The ‘Any other comments’ box may be used to provide additional information relating to any of the sections on the form.

Section 9: Data Protection, Declaration and signature

Please read the information about how we will use your data and confirm by placing a tick in the box that the information you have provided is accurate. Please sign and date the form (an electronic signature is acceptable).

Please return this form, attaching scanned copies of any supporting documents, to

If you prefer you can print the form, complete a paper copy and send it, along with any photocopies of supporting documents, to Housing Strategy Team, 4th Floor Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP.