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Views sought on UK Government’s Starter Home regulation

Image The UK government is seeking views on regulations surrounding its flagship Starter Home programme in England and has issued a consultation document.

Under the regulations, which will form part of the Housing and Planning Bill, the government plans to allow build to rent developers to build Starter Homes off-site.

‘We propose that private rented sector developments could contribute to starter home provision and the requirement should be met through an offsite contribution for delivery of starter homes,’ the consultation document says.

Overall it proposes a new statutory framework for Starter Homes that will include a general duty on local planning authorities to promote the supply of Starter Homes when carrying out their planning functions.

The Bill would include a clause that sets a Starter Home requirement which means that local planning authorities may only grant planning permission for residential developments if the Starter Homes requirement is met.

There would be reporting arrangements to ensure local communities, and especially first time buyers, are aware of what action local planning authorities are taking to support the delivery of starter home; and powers for the Secretary of State to intervene if local planning authorities fail to carry out their functions related to Starter Homes.

‘We are taking forward ambitious measures to increase the supply of housing and improve prospects of home ownership for many. We aim to deliver one million new homes to boost housing supply significantly. We want to ensure young people are not denied that which their parents took for granted, the opportunity to buy their own home, settle down and enjoy the security that home ownership brings,’ said Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis.

‘That is why we have committed to building 200,000 high quality Starter Homes exclusively for young first time buyers under 40, to be sold at a minimum of 20% below the open market value. We want to see Starter Homes built on housing sites across the country,’ he explained.

‘The Housing and Planning Bill sets out the statutory framework for the delivery of Starter Homes, and will be supported by changes to national planning policy,’ he pointed out.

The Government has already announced a £2.3 billion funding package to support the delivery of up to 60,000 Starter Homes. Of this funding £1.2 billion will, in the first instance, be made available to remediate or assemble brownfield land to deliver at least 30,000 Starter Homes through the Starter Homes Land Fund.

The technical consultation document seeks views on the details for the regulations to be made under powers contained in the Housing and Planning Bill, including options for the Starter Homes requirement on reasonably sized sites.

‘We want to hear views so the resulting regulations are feasible, proportionate and effective. I am confident that these reforms will help a generation of young people into home ownership,’ Lewis added.

The British Property Federation has been calling for build to rent developments to be exempt from providing an on-site Starter Home provision throughout the Housing and Planning Bill process, as it believes that an unbroken block is more appealing to investors.

‘We are pleased to see that our calls for build to rent to be treated differently have been recognised. An unbroken block where all the units are for rent is much easier to manage and much more attractive to investors, which is why a mix of private and discounted market rent system works well,’ said Ian Fletcher, director of policy (real estate), at the BPF.

‘The build to rent sector has the potential to deliver a significant number of new homes and drive up standards in the private rented sector, so it is good to see that Starter Homes will not be an obstacle to development,’ he added.

 

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024