A HOUSEBUILDER working on a development of new homes in Prudhoe has submitted an application to reduce the number which could be sold at a discount to local people.

Gentoo is building 404 new homes on the Cottier Grange development on the old Prudhoe Hospital site.

As part of its section 106 agreement – an agreement made between the council and a developer to ensure it makes contributions to the local community – a total of 60 homes across the development phases were set to be marketed for discount market value to make them affordable to local people.

But a planning application submitted by Gentoo to Northumberland County Council has requested a variation to the agreement.

It requests permission to allow discount market value homes to be offered for full market sale if they are not sold at a discount within a set time frame.

The application submitted shows that Gentoo would propose an 18-week discount market value period, before it would notify the council of sales not being secured. After a six week notice period Gentoo would then be able to start marketing the properties for full price.

The Cottier Grange development offers three bedroom homes available to purchase at a 20 per cent discount for buyers under the scheme.

People are required to submit an eligibility application to demonstrate the applicant could not afford the property without the benefit of the discount and that they live in the local area.

The developer said that so far, 16 discount market value homes had been launched with eight homes sold to first time buyers.

Managing director of Gentoo Homes, Anthony Lowther, said: “Gentoo Homes began promoting Discount Market Value (DMV) homes in 2017 and have helped a number of local first time buyers on to the housing ladder by offering a 20 per cent discount through the DMV scheme.

“Following discussions with Northumberland County Council, we have submitted an application to allow DMV units to be offered for both discount and market sale, if they have not been sold as a DMV product within an agreed period of time.

“This is to ensure Cottier Grange remains accessible to local people. Any DMV homes sold at full market value would generate a financial contribution to NCC to be used for additional affordable housing.”

It comes after the social housing arm of the developer, Gentoo Group, was criticised for rejecting families applying for the rented homes on the site because their “housekeeping” standards were not up to Gentoo’s requirements.