COUNTY NEWS: Green light for starter homes across West Sussex

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A trio of West Sussex councils will spearhead a government project to build new homes in 2017 exclusively for first-time buyers.

The Government confirmed this week it had agreed partnerships with 30 local authorities nationwide to build thousands of new starter homes.

Brownfield sites in Chichester, Worthing and Mid Sussex are set to be developed, with councils successfully submitting expressions of interest in bidding for a chunk of the £1.2billion Starter Homes Land Fund.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “This first wave of partnerships shows the strong local interest to build thousands of starter homes on hundreds of brownfield sites in the coming years.”

Starter homes are new homes built exclusively for first-time buyers between the ages of 23, at a discount of at least 20 per cent below market value.

In Chichester, councillors have already given the green light to plans for 80 starter homes as part of the 160-home Lower Graylingwell development.

Tuesday’s announcement related to a bid for funding from the Homes and Communities Agency for further starter homes.

A CDC spokesman said: “This is fantastic news for the district and we hope that the scheme will support communities across the area. We are now looking forward to receiving the finer details from the Government and as soon as we have more information we will share this with our local residents.”

In Worthing, the funding could be used for a number of sites in the borough. Specific sites have not yet been confirmed.

A spokesman said: “We have targeted a number of brownfield sites for conversation with the Homes and Communities Agency.

“The next stage will be to progress discussions with landowners to see whether these sites are suitable for development and can utilise this funding to deliver much needed new housing for Worthing.”

The Government’s announcement was welcomed by the housebuilding industry as a ‘good foundation’.

But the Federation of Master Builders warned more would need to be done to solve the country’s housing shortage.

Chief executive Brian Berry said: “It’s great to see the Housing Minister kick off 2017 by giving the green light to the first starter homes.

“These homes will help some first time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder, and our small house builders are enthusiastic about delivering on that vision, but starter homes will not be a panacea.

“A wider set of measures aimed at increasing the capacity of the house building industry are needed to overturn the long-term under-supply of new homes.

“Central to this must be getting small and medium-sized builders delivering more new homes.”

The Starter Homes Land Fund was set up to prepare suitable land for quality starter home development.

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