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Government launches £26m starter homes fund

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The government has launched a new £26 million fund aimed at encouraging the development of new homes for first-time buyers

The new fund announced earlier today by communities secretary Gleg Clark, will be used to buy brownfield sites on which to build starter homes.

The initiative is part of the government’s plan to build 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers by the start of the next parliament.

The money will be used to identify and purchase sites that could be developed, which the government said would be mainly brownfield land and not currently allocated for housing.

Architects, developers, councils and housing associations will then compete to develop the sites with the homes built sold at a 20 per cent discount as part of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

In addition a further £10 million is being made available to councils to help them develop underused or vacant brownfield land. It will help them carry out preparation, clearance and infrastructure work to make the sites viable for starter homes.

Communities secretary Greg Clark, said: ‘This competitive fund will build homes that will clearly show the wide range of new properties that will be available for first-time buyers as they take their first step on the housing ladder.’

He added: ‘We are also helping bring back into use more brownfield land for development, keeping the country building and delivering the homes our communities need.’

The announcement of the fund comes after the government revealed a series of templates for ‘exemplar’ homes drawn up by Farrells and Richards Partington Architects in March.

Ministers had said they wanted housing designs drawn up by its own panel members - most notably Terry Farrell - to become the ‘default approach’ for starter homes.

This was slammed by RIBA president Stephen Hodder and Landscape Institute president Noel Farrer, who said the template homes could lead to swathes of ‘generic’ properties.

Welcoming this fund, Hodder again warned that the new homes must be of high quality.

He said: ‘The RIBA welcomes this first step towards increasing the availability of new homes for first-time buyers.

‘The Government must work with architects, developers and local communities to ensure that these new homes meet high standards of design and remain affordable.

Hodder added: ‘It’s vital that a desire to sell at below market rate doesn’t lead to small, poor quality homes in areas without sufficient infrastructure, that’s why we believe it’s imperative that the new national space standard - which come into effect in October - is applied to all new-build homes.’

Further comments

Stephen Stone, chief executive, Crest Nicholson
‘Initiatives which help support home ownership should be welcomed. Today’s announcement will not only help first time buyers get onto the property ladder, but it will also accelerate further output across the industry at a time when housing need is at an all-time high.’

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation
‘Brownfield sites often prove to be extremely lengthy and complex to develop, and if the government wants to see significant amount of housing delivered on them, then developers and housebuilders are going to need some help. The funds launched today show welcome recognition of this fact, but we will need to see more from government if it is to reach its Starter Homes targets.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • interesting illustration bearing in mind the comments about design.....

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