Self and Custom-Build Fund details

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Applications are now closed

Self and Custom-Build is a growing sector which the Government is committed to supporting. A key challenge for self and custom-builders is the lack of supply of serviced plots. There are often competing priorities for the use of the land and a lack of available capital and revenue funding to bring them forward, which causes demand to outstrip supply. The Bacon Review recommends the use of suitable public land for the creation of serviced building plots in order to support the development of this emerging housing market. This funding provides support to local authorities to bring forward serviced self and custom-build plots.

Building on the first round of S&CB funding, we are now seeking further projects to come forward. The fund targets small sites facing viability issues which have prevented the release of local authority-owned land for S&CB housing delivery.

The S&CB2 fund is offering c.£20 million of capital grant funding to unlock and accelerate the release of these sites.

All English local authorities are eligible to apply and both brownfield and greenfield sites will be accepted.

The aims of supporting self and custom-build are to:

  • release local authority owned land by end September 2024 for housing development that otherwise would not come forward during that period. Release of land for self and custom-build plots is the point at which disposal of the first plot takes place.
  • demonstrate a return for Government investment into these small sites.
  • be confident these schemes will deliver within the funding timescale.

Funding should address viability issues and market failure in bringing forward serviced plots. The types of costs requiring funding may include:

  • site levelling, groundworks
  • provision of small-scale infrastructure
  • highways works or other access challenges
  • addressing environmental constraints
  • providing services to the plots

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.   

In response to feedback received from the first round, the fund’s eligibility criteria has expanded and is now open to all local authorities in England, including Mayoral Combined Authorities.

Self and Custom-Build (S&CB) applications

The S&CB fund is open to all local authorities in England. This now includes LAs who are constituent members of MCAs (Mayoral Combined Authorities).

Applications should be coordinated by the OPE Partnership and submitted via the designated accountable body of the local OPE programme. We welcome concise, clearly-structured, and well-referenced proposals.

Our assessment will be based on the material provided within the application template, basic details form and technical annex which contain further guidance. We also encourage applicants to review the FAQs provided, where further information and definitions can be found.

All applications will be jointly assessed by Cabinet Office, the LGA and DLUHC on a competitive basis. Applications will be evaluated by applying the following criteria:

Gateway criteria

Applications will only be considered if the following ‘gateway’ criteria are satisfied:

  • the land to which the application relates can be both brownfield and greenfield land, but must be fully owned by the local authority. For schemes of mixed land ownership, funding would only be available to support work that delivers local authority land release
  • the project must be undertaking capital works on local authority-owned land only
  • funding must enable the sale of the first S&CB plot for housing by end September 2024 or earlier
  • funding must address market failure for the scheme
  • the works for which funding is sought are deliverable and within a timeframe that will enable the land to be released by September 2024.
  • A total Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) + non-monetised benefit gateway of 1.5 must be reached for a project to proceed to assessment.
    • The project must provide an S&CB Technical Annex BCR of 1.0 or higher.
    • Where the S&CB Technical Annex BCR is 1.5 or greater, the project will have achieved the BCR criterion.
    • Where the S&CB Technical Annex BCR is between 1.0-1.4, non-monetised benefits will be necessary to reach the 1.5 gateway.
    • Evidence should be provided for all non-monetised benefits, including the scale of the benefit.
    • All non-monetised benefits will be scored and a maximum of 0.5 can be added to the S&CB Technical Annex BCR.
    • The BCR and non-monetised benefits will be assessed following the principles set out in the Green Book (as amended November 2020) and the Department for Communities and Local Government Appraisal Guide, 2016.
  • sufficient evidence in support of these assertions must form part of the application. Further information and examples of best practice can be found in the FAQs.

Full assessment against S&CB criteria

Applications will then be assessed against the full S&CB criteria as below.

Full assessment against S&CB criteria
Criteria Weight
Value for money (see Technical Annex)  
       Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) based on land value uplift and non-monetised benefits 30%
       Gross Value Added (GVA) per hour worked 10%
Strategic case 30%
Deliverability assessment 20%
Innovation 5%
Public sector equality duty 5%



Once the applications have been assessed and scored against the assessment criteria, they will be ranked competitively.

Reserve list

Because S&CB funding is a finite pot, only the top-scoring applications up to a maximum allocation of £20 million will be offered funding and invited to proceed to contract. However, a ‘reserve list’ of any remaining applications which successfully met the allocation criteria but were unable to be funded in the initial allocation will be maintained.

If a successful application is later unable to proceed, the funding notionally allocated to that project will be released and offered to the first highest-scoring application(s) on the reserve list. The actual amount offered will be subject to the amount of funding released at that time.