BUDGET supermarket chain Lidl has launched plans to build Scotland's cheapest new private homes.
Buyers would be offered homes starting at as little as 64,000 under plans drawn up by the German supermarket chain and housebuilder Taylor Wimpey's new "no frills" housing brand "G2".
They will also have their deposits and legal fees paid for them as part of the scheme to help buyers take their first step on to the property market during the current difficulties.
The companies have already submitted a joint planning application and are now awaiting consent to allow them to push ahead with their development of 48 homes in Prestonpans, East Lothian.
The one-bed flats at 64,000 would be 32,600 less than the average one-bed flat in East Lothian, while the two-bed flats, at around 70,000 each, would be nearly 50,000 less than the average for the area – and 95,000 less than a two-bed flat in Edinburgh.
Lidl, which owns the development land next to its Prestonpans High Street store, intends to sell the land to Taylor Wimpey's G2 brand once planning consent is won.
A spokeswoman for Taylor Wimpey said: "G2 is Taylor Wimpey's brand of affordable, low-cost homes designed specifically for first-time buyers."
Its G2 homes consist of studio-type flats where the living area, bedroom and kitchen areas are within the same space.
The company is able to reduce prices by using similar materials for all its developments, meaning it can achieve bulk buying discounts. It also picks sites that are cheaper to obtain and develop on.
Property experts believe the Prestonpans development will be Scotland's cheapest new-build flats.
The Prestonpans scheme has been hit by delays after objections against the demolition of one of the buildings on the site. However, a spokesman for East Lothian Council confirmed Historic Scotland had now ruled that the building did not need to be listed.
David Marshall, a business analyst at the ESPC, said: "Since the credit crunch started, the number of new-builds has fallen by around 80 per cent at a time when the number of households is increasing, so developments like this are very welcome."
WHAT you will get for your money in a Lidl/G2 Prestonpans home:
• One-bed studio flats will be available from 63,995, with two-bed flats starting at 69,995.
• Flats provide "studio-style" living, with living and kitchen areas within one open space.
• One-bed flats contain 350 square feet of living space, while two-bed flats contain 400sq ft.
• All G2 developments use "repetitive" construction methods – which allows the company to buy materials in bulk, cutting down on the price.
• New flats will be just yards from the amenities on Prestonpans High Street.
• The Prestonpans site will offer views of the high street and sea and Cockenzie Power Station.
• Only first-time buyers are allowed to buy the properties – buy-to-let investors are barred.