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Lib Dems welcome plan to cut red tape on housebuilding

September 15, 2014 10:47 AM

andy blackhurstCambridge Liberal Democrats have welcomed a package of measures from the government which will cut red tape making it easier to build new homes.

The measures will save housebuilders and councils £114 million a year while still making sure houses are built to demanding standards.

Andy Blackhurst, Cambridge Lib Dem Spokesperson on Housing said: "This is extremely good news for housebuilders and councils. It simplifies the rules, giving more control to people on the ground to make the decisions that are best for their local areas rather than being dictated to by Whitehall.

"These new measures make sure that homes are built to the highest standards under one set of rules rather than the multitude of permutations that are available at the moment.

"We desperately need affordable new homes for Cambridge and this simplifies the whole process."

The new standards will cover:

  • Security - introducing a national regulation on security standards in all new homes to protect families from burglary.
  • Space - for the first time ever, a national, cross tenure space standard that local authorities and communities can choose to use to influence the size of new homes in their local area.
  • Age friendly housing - new optional building regulations for accessible and adaptable mainstream housing to meet the needs of older and disabled people.
  • Wheelchair user housing - the introduction for the first time of an optional building regulation setting standards for wheelchair housing.
  • Water efficiency - the ability to set higher water efficiency standards in areas of water shortage.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: "We need to build huge numbers of new homes - 300,000 a year across the country, as well as many in Cambridge. "We need high standards for those houses, so that people get the housing quality they deserve, but we also need to avoid red tape preventing homes being built at all. These standards will achieve both more homes being built and a better quality for them."

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: "We need to build more homes and better quality homes and this government is delivering on both. It's now time to go further by freeing up housebuilders from unnecessary red tape and let them get on with the real job building the right homes, in the right places, to help families and first time buyers onto the property ladder."

The government is going out to consultation on the new measures and intends that security standards should become a mandatory regulation with councils able to decide to apply the other standards to homes built in their areas.