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Government presses ahead with starter homes plan

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Councils will be required to forgo community infrastructure levy payments to support the building of ‘starter homes’ for first time buyers, under the Housing Bill proposed in the Queen’s speech this morning.

The bill, which will legislate for the much trailed extension of the right-to-buy to housing association tenants, will also require local authorities to identify land for residents wishing to build their own homes.

A briefing note accompanying the Queen’s speech, published by the Cabinet Office, said the purpose of the bill was to increase housing supply and access to home ownership.

It said starter homes would be sold to first time buyers at a 20% discount.

The coalition government consulted on plans for the introduction of starter homes for first time buyers under 40 at the turn of the year. A response published in March said the government would remove the section 106 requirement for affordable homes on starter home developments and exempt them from community infrastructure levy payments. However, local authorities would be able to insist developers paid section 106 contributions in relation to infrastructure and the homes would attract new homes bonus payments.

The bill will also introduce a statutory register for brownfield land, to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020. A consultation on this published ahead of the election said orders should be placed on any plot of suitable brownfield land that could accommodate at least five dwellings, specifying that the land should be used for housing. This was met with widespread objections from councils who described them as “draconian” and “contrary to the spirit of localism” in their consultation responses.

The government has also said it will “simplify and speed up” the neighbourhood planning system introduced under the Localism Act 2011.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The focus on brownfield land is similarly positive, but we have doubts about how much suitable land will come to market. Local Development Orders are not the silver bullet and experience shows that they are costly for local authorities to produce.

“Neighbourhood planning changes are to be welcomed, particularly if they enable pro-growth, business-led neighbourhood plans to come forward with greater speed.”

 

 

 

 

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