National housing standards must allow local authorities to innovate
Published by Fiona Mannion for TCPA in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
The Government has today published a housing standards consultation proposing changes to how areas including accessibility, space standards, security, water efficiency and energy efficiency are dealt with through both building regulations and planning policy.
It says that the changes proposed would be a "radical reform of the framework of building regulations, guidance, local codes and standards which aimed to reduce bureaucracy and costs on housebuilders - supporting growth whilst delivering quality, sustainability, safety and accessibility".
The document suggests that Government is "minded at this stage to group the standards proposed in this consultation into a simple, short, ‘nationally described standards’ document that will reduce cost and complexity for housebuilders".
Responding to the consultation, Dr Hugh Ellis, Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) Chief Planner said:
“The TCPA understands the Government’s ambitions to simplify and consolidate national housing standards and offer certainty to the private sector across local authority boundaries. However, we must ensure that these still deliver for the long term economic, social and environmental well-being of communities. The Association wishes to see robust standards that individual local authorities can innovate upon, not be limited to. For example, the on-site renewable energy requirement for new builds set out in the ‘Merton Rule’ demonstrate how a local authority can pioneer new ways of working to deliver a low carbon economy above and beyond that offered by national Government guidance.
The TCPA would also like to see the specific proposal of optional space standards made mandatory - rather than chosen from a standards ‘menu’ - to enable homes to be built that people can comfortably live in, provide storage and be readily adapted for improved accessibility.”
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