County News: Sussex site included in Government’s ‘ground-breaking’ affordable homes policy

Early artist's impression of Lower Graylingwell, where 80 of the 160 new homes could be the Government's Starter Homes

Early artist's impression of Lower Graylingwell, where 80 of the 160 new homes could be the Government's Starter Homes

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A Sussex site is included in ‘ground-breaking’ Government policy to fast-track new affordable homes announced yesterday (Monday January 4).

Land south of the former Graylingwell Hospital building in Chichester is one of five projects in the South East chosen for the pilot, which will see the Government directly commission housing on publicly-owned land.

Chichester District Council approved outline planning permission for 160 homes to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for the 7.4 hectare part-brownfield site back in October, but according to the Government the HCA was unable to reach an agreement with any national housebuilders last summer.

The ‘ground-breaking’ policy of direct commissioning housebuilding will ‘provide an opportunity to take forward the development of this site in the short-term’ according to the Government.

Up to 40 per cent of the new housing in the pilot will be ‘starter homes’ sold to first-time buyers under 40 for a discount of at least 20 per cent of their market value, with a cap on the value of properties.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Today’s package signals a huge shift in government policy. Nothing like this has been done on this scale in 3 decades – government rolling its sleeves up and directly getting homes built.

“Backed up with a further £1.2 billion to get homes built on brownfield sites, it shows we will do everything we can to get Britain building and let more people have the security that comes with a home of their own.”

The HCA acquired the site from the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in early 2014.

The Government also announced the creation of a £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes, which will aim to fast-track at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020.

Greg Clark, communities secretary, added: “We’re pulling out all the stops to keep the country building with a clear ambition to deliver a million homes by 2020 and support hard-working people into home ownership.

“Today’s radical new approach will mean the government will directly commission small and up-and-coming companies to build thousands of new homes on sites right across the country.

“This, and the £1.2billion new starter homes fund, will help thousands of people to realise their dream of owning their own home.”

The Government claims the new policy will support smaller builders who lack resources and access to land, as the top eight housebuilders currently deliver 50 per cent of new homes.

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