The Government has launched a new consultation, open for eight weeks, that proposes utilising some Green Belt land for new ‘starter homes’. These are defined as new dwellings for those under 40, which have to be sold at a price of £250,000 or less (or £450,000 in London).
Organisations such as the Campaign for Rural England have already voiced concerns about these proposals, as has MP Clive Betts. One Conservative local councillor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us: “These houses aren’t affordable…It’s just a back door way of allowing Green Belt areas to be built on by developers. It combines with the idea of the Local Plan requiring a prescriptive number of houses – this is just the Government making it easier to find places to put them. We have to implement the Local Plan or face punitive measures from the Government, so we’re in a tough position.”
The consultation is open for responses until late January. It states that: “(we) propose to amend national planning policy so that neighbourhood plans can allocate appropriate small-scale sites in the Green Belt specifically for starter homes, with neighbourhood areas having the discretion to determine the scope of a smallscale site.
“This will support local areas in giving affordable home ownership opportunities to young people and young families by enabling a small level of development that is sympathetic to local concerns and is clearly supported by local people.”