Published: Thursday, 31st March 2016
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published its much anticipated consultation paper on the planning regime for its ‘Starter Homes’ initiative.
The Government is proposing:
- A 20 per cent requirement on all sites of 10 units or more
- Greater flexibility on the sales and lettings restriction period, with a tapering extending to ‘up to eight years’
- Exemptions from the requirement for specialist developments and on sites where there are quantifiable viability concerns
- Off-site commuted sum contributions for developments such as housing for older people and purpose built private rented sector housing.
The consultation document makes it clear that the general viability exemption will apply to those residential developments “where it can be clearly demonstrated that the starter homes requirement would render the site unviable”.
This will need clear evidence from a developer “and confirmation that no other affordable housing contributions are being provided”. The local authority will have to agree with the developer’s assessment.
The department is canvassing views on whether a prescriptive test should set out the promised regulations.
DCLG has also proposed that where the requirement cannot be met in full due to viability considerations “we will introduce flexibility in the regulations to allow a lower percentage of starter homes to be provided”.