Shapps pledges to cut housing red tape

Aaron Morby 13 years ago
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Housing Minister Grant Shapps has pledged to cut any red tape hampering house builders from getting projects started.

Shapps said the radical review would look at simplifying the environmental standards set for private and social housing.

He also said the government would look at cutting the documentation needed to support planning applications.

The Home Builders Federation welcomed the move but demanded more action and fewer words as the industry faces up to a deepening house building crisis.

HBF Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said: “Grant Shapps’ commitment to the removal of red tape is welcome and we are keen to work with Government to create their planned climate for delivery.

“But we urgently need clarity on this and on how the new incentive and planning systems will work.”

He called on Government to issue a timetable for implementation of  new policies to help end the current house building hiatus.

The national housing crisis has seen fewer homes built in the last year than at any peacetime year since 1923, while first-time buyers are at record lows.

A pro-development planning system, coupled with the New Homes Bonus community incentive have been promised since before the election but further announcements have been painfully slow in appearing.

Baseley added: “The date for the consultation on the New Homes Bonus is yet to be announced 5 months after Secretary of State Eric Pickles abolished the Regional Spatial Strategies, a decision that saw proposed housing developments across the country scrapped.”

Work to cut red tape will support the ongoing review of building regulations launched by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell earlier this year.

Shapps said: “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.

“I have a clear message to house builders 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.”

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