DCLG proposes exception site policy for Starter Homes

An exception site planning policy would be used to release brownfield land to provide discounted homes for first-time buyers, a government consultation document proposes.

DCLG: published consultation document on Starter Homes initiative
DCLG: published consultation document on Starter Homes initiative

The consultation, published yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government, says that a mechanism similar to the existing rural exception site policy would be "at the heart" of the new Starter Homes initiative.

The policy, unveiled at the Conservative Party conference in October, is intended to provide 100,000 discounted homes for first-time buyers aged under 40 on brownfield sites.

The consultation document says that the rural exception site policy, through which land that would not normally be released for housing is made available to meet local affordable housing needs, is a well-established part of the planning system.

The document adds: "We intend to build on this approach for the new Starter Home exception site policy, under-used or unviable industrial and commercial land that has not been identified for housing, to provide discounted homes for first time buyers in both urban and rural areas".

The policy would require local planning authorities to approve applications for starter homes on such sites, unless they can demonstrate that there are "overriding considerations in relation to health, safety or infrastructure that cannot be mitigated".

The consultation document adds that planning conditions or obligations should be attached to permissions for starter homes on exception sites, "requiring that the homes are offered for sale at a minimum of 20 per cent below normal market price, to people who have not previously been a home buyer, and who are below the age of 40 at the time of purchase".

The document continues that Starter Home exception sites should not be required to make contributions to affordable housing or be subject to the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Stepping onto the property ladder: Enabling high quality Starter Homes for first time buyers is available here.

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