Starter Homes hailed as ‘new product’ for first-time buyers during minister’s Chichester visit

Brandon Lewis planning minister visits lower Graylingwell site in Chichester (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-161202-125111001
Brandon Lewis planning minister visits lower Graylingwell site in Chichester (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-161202-125111001

Starter Homes due to be built in Chichester have been hailed as a ‘new product’ for first-time buyers by the planning minister.

Brandon Lewis visited the Lower Graylingwell site, which has been earmarked for 160 new homes and is one of five pilot schemes where the Government plans to directly commission housing on publicly-owned land.

He met representatives of Chichester District Council on Friday morning and explained that alongside affordable rented homes, the Government was looking at measures to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder.

Mr Lewis said: “We need affordable homes to buy as well. Starter Homes are a new product that has simply not been there.

“I make no apologies about driving that opportunity for people to own their own home.”

Starter Homes will be available to first-time buyers under 40 for at least 20 per cent under than the market value.

Brandon Lewis planning minister visits lower Graylingwell site in Chichester (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-161202-125058001

Brandon Lewis planning minister visits lower Graylingwell site in Chichester (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-161202-125058001

Due to high house prices in Chichester it has previously been suggested that the prices of the Starter Homes could be as high as the £250,000 cap even with a discount, putting them out of the reach of many prospective buyers.

But Mr Lewis said the discount would make a ‘massive difference’ for young people looking to save for a deposit on a mortgage, while their direct commissioning approach could mean that in some areas the discount might be more than 20 per cent.

He explained they had picked the pilot sites where projects had difficulties or complexities that they cold solve by directly commissioning the developments, and could bring in a locally contracted developer to start building as soon as possible.

He added: “The changes that we have made mean that having locally-led planning is actually delivering a record number of planning permssions.”

The Homes and Communities Agency acquired the site from the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in early 2014, which is south of the main Graylingwell site where planning permission was granted in 2009 for 750 homes including 40 per cent affordable housing.

Currently 330 homes are occupied.

Last month CDC’s Planning Committee approved plans for 160 homes at Lower Graylingwell, on a split of 80 market and 80 Starter Homes.

Tony Dignum, leader of the council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of the Government’s new Starter Homes scheme.

“This will enable more new homes to be built and will also increase the speed at which they are delivered.

“This will be a real boost to first time buyers in our district who are looking to get onto the housing ladder. It will also support our economy as the HCA will be employing local labour and apprentices to deliver these homes.

“The Lower Graylingwell site will be an exemplar project and we are delighted to be part of such an innovative government scheme. We are always looking at new ideas to deliver housing in order to help meet the needs of our residents.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.chichester.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChichesterObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @Chiobserver

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Chichester Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.