First-time buyers in Scarborough set to get priority on purchasing new affordable homes

First-time buyers in Scarborough are set to get priority on purchasing new affordable homes built across the borough.

By George Buksmann
Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:24 pm
Updated Friday, 4th March 2022, 4:27 pm
Affordable homes will benefit people from across the borough
Affordable homes will benefit people from across the borough

Scarborough Council unanimously approved a new housing policy at a full meeting of the authority, which contains the new Government First Home policy – that includes the exclusive sale period.

Cllr Liz Colling, the authority’s inclusive growth portfolio holder, said: “We need to ensure that local residents and people with a local connection receive the first option to buy a First Home, which is a Government initiative.”

The scheme has a raft of new measures to help support first-time buyers purchase a new home, including a borough-wide 30 per cent discount and eligibility criteria to ensure residents have the first option to purchase the properties for the first three months of marketing, before they become publicly available.

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Cllr Colling said the Government legislation prevents the council from introducing a variable discount rate across Scarborough borough or extending the exclusive sale period beyond three months, but has enabled them to introduce eligibility criteria which include: being a current resident of the borough; being in full-time employment in the borough; needing to move to take up an offer of full-time employment in the borough; or needing to move to provide care of support to a close family member in the borough.

In a report prepared by the authority’s officers for councillors, it said the council’s Corporate Plan aims to “ensure everyone in the borough has a decent home to live in and has access to good quality, affordable housing”.

Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons told a meeting of the authority’s cabinet on February 15 that he welcomes the three-month moratorium on the sale of new homes, but raised concerns about whether the legislation will be appropriately publicised to first-time buyers.

Steve Wilson, the council’s Planning Policy and Conservation Manager, said: “It’s incumbent on the developers themselves and national housebuilders to advertise on their websites and at their sites that these properties are there initially for local residents, so hopefully that message will get over.”

Mr Wilson said he expected the initial First Home developments to start from April.