We are consulting on our First Homes Interim Position Statement before it is finalised. We are proposing to not make First Homes mandatory in Bath and North East Somerset, but instead preserve shared ownership tenure as we believe this best meets local needs for low-cost home ownership.
In May 2021 national guidance was set out in the written ministerial statement and the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) on the First Homes product, which aims to provide aspirational homeowners with the option to buy homes discounted by 30%.
The way First Homes is implemented means that they are included in the affordable housing contribution that developers are required to make, and so we (B&NES Council) would then have to replace shared ownership homes with First Homes.
What is shared ownership?
Our analysis shows that less than 2% of recent shared ownership buyers in Bath and North East Somerset would be able to afford a First Home, so we have decided to propose not to make First Homes mandatory. This means shared ownership homes will still be available in Bath and North East Somerset.
The purpose of this Interim Position Statement is to set out our position on First Homes whilst affordable housing policy (including in relation to First Homes) is reviewed comprehensively via the New Local Plan.
What this means for you
Residents and first-time buyers
Potential First Home buyers will not be left out, as the eligibility criteria for First Homes is the same as shared ownership in most cases, and it is also possible to buy large initial shares, if desired.
Businesses and developers
If you wish to propose First Homes as part of a planning application, we will need to carefully consider this giving appropriate weight to the government policy on First Homes.
Who we are consulting
This consultation is aimed primarily at the development industry and affordable housing providers.
Have your say
This 6-week consultation will allow you to comment on the proposed Interim Position Statement.
You can respond using our online questionnaire, which should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes of your time to complete.
If you want further details about this proposal or the consultation, you can contact us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next
We are open to your comments and ideas and can also amend our Interim Position Statement in response to your feedback.
The final Position Statement will feed into the New Local Plan and we will publish this online in the next 6 months or so.