Design panel to oversee quality of brownfield 'starter homes'

A design panel will be established to ensure that homes built for first-time buyers on brownfield sites under the government's new Starter Home initiative are high quality and well designed, the Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce today.

Brownfield: initiative would see sites exempted from 'planning costs'
Brownfield: initiative would see sites exempted from 'planning costs'

The Starter Home initiative, first unveiled at the Conservative Party conference in October, is intended to offer 100,000 first-time buyers under 40 new homes with a 20 per cent discount.

In a statement issued ahead of the publication of a consultation on the new initiative, the government said that the design panel, "including word famous architects such as Sir Terry Farrell and Sir Quinlan Terry will be established to ensure that new homes are not only lower cost but also high quality and well designed".

Representatives from the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Design Council and social enterprise Create Streets will also sit on the panel, the statement said.

Today's statement said that the initiative would allow "housebuilders to develop under-used or unviable brownfield land and free them from planning costs and levies. In return, they will be able to offer homes at a minimum 20 per cent discount exclusively to first time buyers, under the age of 40".

The statement continued: "Under the proposals, developers offering Starter Homes would be exempt from … section 106 charges and Community Infrastructure Levy charges. The homes could then not be re-sold at market value for a fixed period - making sure that the savings are passed onto homebuyers."

According to the statement, more than 30 housebuilders have said that they support the plans and would consider bringing forward land to develop the new, discounted houses, from next year.


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