East Cambridgeshire District Council has published a First Homes Interim Policy Statement (pdf) which sets out the Councils approach to its implementation in the circumstances when a development proposal includes reference to First Homes as part of the affordable housing provision.
What is a first home?
- A First Home is a specific kind of discounted market sale housing and should be considered to meet the definition of ‘affordable housing’ for planning purposes.
- Must be discounted by a minimum of 30% against market value
- Sold to people meeting the First Homes eligibility criteria, see government guidance on first homes (external link)
- Will have a restriction registered on the title at HM Land Registry to ensure discount (% of current market value) and certain other restrictions are passed on at each subsequent title transfer
- After discount has been applied, the first sale must be at a price no higher than £250,000
A minimum of 25% of all affordable housing units secured through developer contributions (s106) should be First Homes. These are expected to be delivered on site (in accordance with para 62 of NPPF) unless off-site provision or a financial contribution in lieu can be robustly justified, and a s106 will be required to secure the necessary restrictions.
First homes should be physically indistinguishable from the equivalent market homes in terms of quality and size.
The new First Homes policy requirement does not apply for applications for full or outline planning permission where there has been significant pre-application engagement which are determined before 28 March 2022 (significant pre-app means substantive discussions with the applicant relating to the proposed quantity or tenure mix of affordable housing contribution associated with that application).
If an applicant wishes to amend a planning application to include First Homes which is already submitted and likely to be granted before this date, we can be flexible in accepting First Homes as an alternative tenure.
The policy does not apply to applications made under s73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to amend or vary a permission unless the amendment or variation in question relates to the proposed quantity or tenure mix of affordable housing for that development.
A First Home exception site is classed as an exception site, but one that delivers primarily First Homes. They can come forward on unallocated land outside of development envelope (but not in the Green Belt). As is stated in our exception site policy, First Homes exception sites can deliver a small proportion of market housing, provided that it can be demonstrated that it is necessary in order to ensure the overall viability of the site, this is evidenced by a viability assessment, as we currently seek.
The Ministerial Statement and further guidance on gov.uk sites can be found below: