Ten city-owned sites to be sold for housing as Plymouth sparks new housing boom
Plymouth City Council has agreed deals that will see 616 homes built on derelict sites it owns.
The council's planning department is working with developers to deliver another 5,000 homes which already have planning permission.
And the council is contacting the owners of small sites where planning permissions exist for a total of 498 homes yet to be built.
The schemes are part of the "Get Plymouth building" initiative, which is aiming to deliver about 2,000 new homes altogether, and create more than 800 jobs within the next two to three years.
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Six of the 10 new council-owned sites are former schools, and they will include 264 affordable homes delivered by housing associations.
About £4million of the cash for developing the land will come from Homes and Communities Agency grants, and the council expects to earn £5.9million from the Government's New Homes Bonus.
Cllr Mark Lowry, the city's Cabinet member for finance, announced the projects at a scrutiny meeting yesterday.
He said: "We desperately need more affordable housing. With such high house prices and low average wages it's incredibly difficult for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder without the help of the 'bank of mum and dad'."
The average house price in Plymouth is more than £160,000. A buyer would need a deposit and an income of at least £28,000 to buy a two-bed property.
Mid-range income in the city is £23,600, and 20 per cent of people earn less than £15,930.
Cllr Lowry said the schemes would support more than 200 jobs in construction and associated businesses and new homes would be built to high environmental standards.
Paul Barnard, the council's chief planner, said he was confident the 10 big sites would be developed and would not be 'land-banked' by speculators.
He told panel members that the pre-application process on some of the sites began yesterday.
"I would like to get all of the consents in place by the end of this year, subject to the planning committee's consideration," he said.
Nick Carter, the housing delivery team leader, said companies which had won Homes and Communities Agency grants would have to deliver by March 2015.
And Cllr Lowry said: "I will be doing all that's legally allowable to ensure that developments happen as soon as possible."
Plymouth Community Homes is proposing to build 140 homes on the former Southway Primary School site. The development will include new sports pitches and changing rooms.
Clive Turner, the PCH chief executive, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to further our work as Plymouth's largest social housing provider."
A second Southway site is the old Pluss training centre. Cllr Lowry has approved the sale of the one-acre site to developers Westward Housing Group.
It was vacated by the disability training group Pluss in January 2011 and ransacked by burglars.
Andy Mitchelmore from AJM Building Design Ltd has agreed to buy the former Astor Centre in Mount Gould Road.
He said: "Our scheme will help tackle the issue of fuel poverty by using the latest green technologies to reduce heating costs."
Sanctuary Housing Association is planning to build 70 homes at the former Woodlands and Hillside schools, including five sites for self-build schemes.