The Minister pledged to tackle the ‘alphabet soup’ of standards and red tape that blight efforts to start new developments, and will call on industry leaders to work with Government in a new drive to simplify the system.
This work to cut red tape will complement the ongoing review of building regulations launched by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell earlier this year.
The review is in addition to a groundbreaking new ‘One In, One Out’ system which began last month, where Ministers seeking to introduce new regulations that will impose costs on business have to identify current regulations of equivalent value that can be removed.
Mr Shapps also highlighted Government efforts to bring an end to the conflicts of the past between developers and residents with the introduction of a New Homes Bonus, so that those communities going for growth now and in the future will receive direct and substantial extra funding to spend as they wish.
Grant Shapps said:
"Last year, housebuilding hit its lowest level for any peacetime year since 1924 as developers have been hampered by regional targets that put them in direct conflict with local communities and an alphabet soup of regulations and red tape they have to navigate.
"Today I have a clear message to housebuilders large and small – we are on your side. I am determined to make it easier to build the homes this country needs. Appropriate building standards, applied sensibly, help developers and communities alike, but they can only be effective if they are easier to understand. That’s why I want to simplify the process for housebuilders to meet the standards communities demand.
"But I also want to make it easier for these companies to complete new developments where they are wanted. That’s why we will introduce powerful new incentives so those communities that give the green light to developments see the benefits of the new homes in their area."
Ian Baker, Group Managing Director for Housebuilding at Galliford Try Homes said:
“We welcome Grant Shapps’ intention to reduce the regulatory burden currently facing housebuilders which has severely restricted our ability to build the volume of new homes the UK desperately needs. We look forward to working with government, but it is essential that they listen to the industry as it makes its review and instigate changes with speed.
“However we remain concerned that the shared aspirations to improve planning will be put at risk with the lack of clarity for local authorities. This remains a pressing issue and so far there has been a great deal of optimistic rhetoric but no concrete actions delivering improvement.
“Removing housebuilding targets and replacing them with local community incentives to accept the building of new homes will need time to embed and may not result in homes being built where demand and need is greatest. The success or failure of this initiative will be in the detail of this proposal and it must be carefully thought through before being imposed on councils and communities.
“First-time-buyers are the lifeblood of the housebuilding industry so Mr Shapps’ call to improve credit availability for this group and house movers in general is positive. The pluses of buying a brand new home including its energy efficient qualities is the housebuilder’s mantra, lenders must now also acknowledge these benefits and improve lending criteria to match.”
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