Self-Build Housing

Self-Build and Custom Register

To register your interest and get information about Self-Build in Tower Hamlets please sign up to the Self-build and custom build register.

What is self-build and community-led housing?

Self-build housing is where individuals or groups of individuals organise the design and construction of their own homes. You would be involved in bidding, getting planning permission, designing, building and managing your own home(s).

Self-Build covers a variety of involvement in the development and construction of the homes. As Self-Builders, you could do all the work yourself. Alternatively you can commission an architect to design the building and find a builder to build it.


Community-led housing is where people and communities play a leading role in addressing their own housing needs. It has many overlaps with group self-build and custom-build but also considers the long-term ownership or management. Any benefits (such as affordability) are legally protected.

Anyone can start a community-led housing group. You might be a group of friends or family, neighbours with similar interests or values. You can also be a member of an existing community group who wants to build affordable housing to meet your needs.

As a group you might be interested in cohousing or other ways to live together or in providing secure, affordable housing for you and your community, for example by starting a housing co-op. There are lots of different options for how you might design and manage a self-build housing project, whether as a group or an individual household.

For more information on community-led housing visit the Community-Led Housing London’s website. You will find information on different types of community-led housing and what support is available to set up your own community-led housing group.

Tower Hamlets Affordable Self-Build programme

The Mayor reconsidered the council's previous plan for an Affordable Self-Build Programme. The programme aimed to deliver community-led self-build projects on council-owned sites. The plan included selling four small council-owned sites to community-led housing groups.

The Mayor decided to stop the programme in October 2023. Now, the focus is on building council homes for rent. This change aims to increase affordable housing for social rent in the area.

For more information please read the IMD and background documents.

As per the 2015 Self-Build Act and the 2016 Housing Act, the council maintains a Self-Build Register for Tower Hamlets residents interested in self-building. The council will continue to consider this list for planning, housing, land disposal, and regeneration.