Starter home plan dropped for Chichester site


A scheme for 80 starter homes at Lower Graylingwell celebrated as one of the first in the UK has been scrapped following delays due to ‘other government priorities’.

Chichester was to be one of five pilot locations directly commissioned by the government to help provide homes to first-time buyers at 20 per cent below market value.

The starter homes are set to be replaced with 48 affordable rented and shared ownership homes, with the rest sold at market value, because of regulation delays due to ‘other government priorities’.

In an email on the planning application, leader of Chichester District Council Tony Dignum noted the shift from 50 per cent starter homes to 30 per cent rented, but wrote: “Government policy changed on starter homes with PM May. We don’t have much choice.”

In an Observer special report in Feburary last year, planning minister Brandon Lewis announced the starter homes, on land bought by the Homes and Communities Agency, as a ‘new product’ to help people on to the property ladder.

But a Government white paper on housing earlier this year dropped the mandatory requirement for starter homes in new developments over concerns it could impact on other affordable options.

When asked about changes to the plan this week, Chichester District Council confirmed agreements for the 160-house site had to change to comply with existing policy.

A council spokesperson said: “It is understood that the starter homes regulations have been delayed due to other government priorities, but that the Homes and Communities Agency remains committed to delivering low cost housing on this site as quickly as possible.

“It is also still part of the HCA’s accelerated construction programme.

“Unfortunately, without the regulations being brought into force, the proposed starter home low cost housing scheme did not meet local or national planning policy requirements so has now had to be brought into line with current planning policies.”

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