House of Lords calls for built environment tsar

Aaron Morby 1 year ago
Share

A House of Lords Committee set up to scrutinise housing policy is warning the Government will miss its target of building 240,000 homes a year if it relies on private developers alone.

House_building theme housing
A position of chief built environment advisor could work across government departments to champion higher standards and good practice

Its influential report published today urges the Government to radically rethink its present policy and open the door to far greater local authority and housing association delivery.

Also the committee wants to see a new role of Chief Built Environment Advisor created to work across government departments to integrate planning policy and act as a champion for higher standards and good practice.

Controversially it also wants the Government to reverse its decision to scrap zero carbon homes to get the country back on track to delivering sustainable quality developments.

Baroness O’Cathain, chairman of the Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment, said: “If we build houses in the wrong place, to a poor standard, without the consent of local communities we are only storing up future misery for the people in those houses and others nearby.

“That is why we are recommending local authorities are once again empowered both to build new homes of their own, and to ensure all developments are of a suitably high quality.”

She urged the Government to ease borrowing restrictions on local authorities and review its own decision to reduce social rents, a key source of funding for local housing provision. 

The report also warns that the focus on the speed and quantity of housing developments poses a threat to sustainable planning for the long-term, quality, design standards and place-making.

“Spending a little bit extra on good quality design at the outset can avert massive costs to people, society and Government in the long-run.

“The Government should review the National Planning Policy Framework to make sure developers aren’t using financial viability to play fast and loose with design quality and sustainability.

“If developers submit substandard plans local authorities should be able to ask them to think again without builders falling back on questionable viability assessments to get their way,” she said.

House of Lords Built Environment Select Committee Report

Key recommendations

  • The Government should stop including ‘starter homes’ within the definition of affordable housing as they cease to include any element of affordability after five years. The present approach distracts from delivering genuinely affordable housing for the long-term.
  • Reconsider additional elements of the Housing and Planning Bill which would undermine the maintenance of mixed communities.
  • Appoint a Chief Built Environment Advisor to champion higher standards in built environment across Government departments.
  • The Government should reverse its decision to do away with the zero carbon homes requirement and Code for Sustainable Homes.
  • Revise the National Planning Policy Framework to reduce the unreasonable use of viability assessments by developers to avoid funding affordable housing and infrastructure. 
  • Local communities and local authorities to be empowered to demand high standards from developers.
  • Make design review mandatory for all major planning applications, in order to offset the long-term burdens and costs of poor quality design.

Latest news

Nine firms win places on £225m modular framework

Fusion 21 picks winners for education authorities to use
5 hours ago

Developers scale down plans for Wylfa nuclear plant

Number of construction workers needed falls to 8,500 from 10,000
8 hours ago

Facebook snub prompts refurb rethink on Oxford Street

Great Portland Estates considers more extensive revamp at Oxford House
7 hours ago

McLaren lands deal to fit-out new home of the FT

Newspaper staff will have a running track on the roof of New Bracken House
1 day ago

Skanska appoints new head of building business

Katy Dowding promoted as contractor unveils management reshuffle
1 day ago

Bid race begins for £20m mega car park

Port of Southampton plans largest car storage facility yet
9 hours ago

MVS Group lands M&E deal at new Spurs stadium

Midlands specialist boosts turnover and opens new North West office
16 hours ago

BAM wins £20m Sheffield school

Mercia secondary school will open late next year
1 day ago

Sparks down tools on Skanska Crossrail sites

Electricians "cabin-up" in row over bonus pay and union recognition
1 day ago

Renew pulls out of low pressure gas mains work

Forefront Utilities business to focus on medium pressure replacement schemes
1 day ago

Wonky crane gets Multiplex out of a tight fix

Ingenious crane design at London's tallest tower site
1 day ago

200 Quadrant Construction staff face restructure

L&Q to close Quadrant Construction brand in big shake-up of development activities
1 day ago

Construction to start on £100m Bath resi scheme

Investment fund buys former Bath Press site
1 day ago

Three bosses jailed after fatal roof fall

Court hears how safety measures were ignored to save money
2 days ago

Property firm merges with main contractor

Wigley Building and Development will target projects up to £12m
2 days ago

Go Interiors acquires cladding specialist FGF

Deal creates £65m distribution business
2 days ago

Revamp of world’s first factory trials novel procurement

Derby Silk Mill project to test integrated project insurance
2 days ago

Manslaughter verdict after double site death

Two Polish workers killed after site lift goes horribly wrong
2 days ago

Bidding starts on £30m Warwick School

Work to start this summer on new King's High school
2 days ago

Race to start in June for £26m Preston student gateway

The University of Central Lancashire is planning to build a landmark centre and new square
2 days ago

Chigwell gets green light for homes at show jumping centre

Latest new build resi scheme for repair and maintenance specialist
2 days ago

Detailed plans in for £1.4bn Brent Cross scheme

If approved, enabling works set to start next summer
5 days ago

Balfour Beatty fends off revolt over chief’s pay

Balfour chief Leo Quinn's bonus raised from 120% to 150% of salary
5 days ago

Manchester fit out specialist goes under

Sustainability Inc now in the hands of liquidators
5 days ago

Plan for £90m Ascot hospital rebuild

NHS trust says new plan is only way to secure hospital services in Ascot
5 days ago

Grainger to build PRS project every two months

UK's largest residential landlord races to deliver PRS building programme
5 days ago

City Airport to build digital air traffic control tower

50-metre high tower will beam pictures to air traffic controllers miles away
5 days ago

L&G strengthens housing delivery team

Former Skanska and BAM managers sign up to L&G housing drive
5 days ago

Mace Nova site finishes late and busts budget

Developer Land Securities confirms cost and time overruns
6 days ago

Glencar seals deal for major warehouse revamp

Contractor founded by ex-McLaren directors bags distribution centre job
6 days ago

Contractor services