It is the first working day of 2017 and already we have two announcements from DCLG - both of which are centred on delivering housing.
Yesterday, DCLG announced the chosen locations for fourteen new Garden Villages and three Garden Towns; which between them are intended to deliver over 48,000 new homes.
This morning, the Housing Minister followed up with an announcement that the first Starter Homes, which are to be partly funded through the Starter Homes Land Fund, would get under way this year. The homes are to be delivered through partnerships with local authorities, who are to prepare and 'de-risk' suitable sites so that construction can be 'fast-tracked' by developers or through accelerated construction initiatives.
The timing of the Starter Homes announcement is interesting. To date, the relevant provisions of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 have not come into force and we do not have a published draft of the Starter Homes Regulations, which are needed to flesh out the details of how the new tenure is to work in practice.
Given how contentious the Starter Homes provisions of the Act proved to be, it is unlikely that the supporting regulations will have a smooth run through Parliament.
We are also still waiting on the publication of the much anticipated Housing White Paper, which is expected to set out further details on Starter Homes, with early indications being that DCLG may take the opportunity to finesse the policy somewhat, to allow more room for traditional tenures of affordable housing.
Against that background, today's promise that Starter Homes will be constructed in 2017 seems, like many new year's resolutions, to be a little on the ambitious side.
In fact, today's announcement is the starter pistol on a year long race between DCLG's ambition to start construction and the Government's ability to get the necessary legislation through parliament.
This could well be an interesting race... On Your Marks... Get Set.... Go!
2017 will see the first Starter Homes being built on brownfield sites across the country, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed today (3 January 2017). .... The first wave of 30 local authority partnerships – selected on the basis of their potential for early delivery – will spearhead schemes. These partnerships have been established under the government’s £1.2 billion Starter Homes Land Fund which supports the development of starter homes on sites across England. These new developments will also support the wider growth and regeneration of local areas, including some town centre sites, and help make sure this is a country that works for everyone. The first places will begin construction later this year along with sites supported by the Homes and Communities Agency.