Housing Secretary announces planning reforms

Housing Secretary announces planning reforms

Reforms to the planning system, a green standard for all new build homes and a new home design manual have been announced by the Housing Secretary.

Image: Ceebeestock/Adobestock

The government has confirmed proposals for changes to the planning system, with the aim of speeding it up. Amongst the proposals is the potential for more fees to be refunded if councils take too long to decide on specific planning applications.

The move, the government says, will benefit all planning applicants, from housing developers to individual householders seeking to extend or modify their own home.

It states that small developers will benefit from the simplification of guidance, with the introduction of a new tiered planning system.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “We are also reforming the planning system making it faster and more efficient for everyone, from households to large developers, alongside giving families greater freedom to extend their homes to meet their changing needs.”

The accelerated planning green paper will be published in November 2019.

Green standard
The Government has also announced that it plans to bring forward a new ‘green standard’ for new build homes.

Unveiled by the Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, the Future Homes Standard will see fossil fuel heating systems banned from new homes by 2025.

The government has also announced plans for a new national design code that will ensure developers ‘build beautiful, well designed homes’. It is calling for every local authority across the country to produce their own design guide which reflects their local requirements, while meeting the expected national standard.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Building new homes isn’t just about bricks and mortar, I want to ensure everyone – including developers – do their bit to protect the environment and give the next generation beautiful, environmentally friendly homes that local communities can support.

“That’s why I am requiring carbon emissions are cut by up to 80% from 2025 for all new homes and have published a National Design Guide, setting out simply what we expect from new development.”

Click here for more details on the government consultation.

Click here for more details of the National Design Guide.

Reacting to the announcements, John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), said: “This announcement sets out a new and extremely welcome level of ambition from the Government, which should see a significant improvement in carbon reductions from new homes in 2020, and important clarity on further improvement in 2025.”

The solar industry has welcomed the government proposals for higher building standards. Solar Trade Association (STA) Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “It is encouraging to see that solar, an affordable and popular technology, is highlighted in this consultation as a way to really cut down carbon emissions in new dwellings and reduce energy bills for residents. We welcome both the consultation and the government’s preference for Option 2, which in the context of net zero should be the obvious choice.”

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