THREE house builders have taken the early glory in the Government's £60,000 house competition.
Barratt, Crest Nicholson and George Wimpey have been selected as preferred bidders on the first four public-owned sites in English Partnerships' Design for Manufacture competition.
The trio was selected after three rounds of competition in which a list of more than 100 firms was cut down to nine final bidders.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said: 'We set the bar very high to ensure the winning bids are of the highest calibre in terms of design, cost efficiency and environmental standards.
'I am impressed with the way they have all refined and improved their plans during the final stage of the competition and I congratulate the successful bidders, who can now bring their designs to life.' Barratt won two of the sites and will build 151 homes at Allerton Bywater, Leeds, and 165 at Upton, Northampton.
Crest Nicholson, as leader of the SIXTYK team, will build 68 homes at Renny Lodge, Newport Pagnell. George Wimpey will build 145 at Oxley Park, Milton Keynes.
Barratt chief executive David Pretty said: 'The Government is asking the industry for more homes, more urban regeneration, more social housing, more skills training and more innovation.
Barratt is delivering on all these.' The teams that missed out were Northern Edge, Redrow and Westbury.
But the losers still have the chance to get something from the competition with a further six sites still up for grabs.
Three bidders ? Countryside Consortium, Geoffrey Osborne and William Verry ? did not bid for the first four sites but will be going after some of the remaining ones, which will be released in two batches of th ree.
Only 173 homes on the first four sites will be built for £60,000 after a target figure of 30 per cent was set, but all the homes have to be made using similar cost efficiencies.
The preferred bidders for the other six sites are expected to be announced by January once planning permission has been granted. Construction on the first four sites should start next spring after financial close.