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Government consults on minimum housing space standards

Latest newsPosted by 24 Aug, 2013 22:42:03

The Government in inviting views on a national minimum space standard as part of moves to streamline the welter of housing standards and regulations facing house builders.

Communities Minister Don Foster said the Government would consult on introducing the new space standard as part of its review of building standards.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the administration was inviting views on “minimum space and access standards that would allow councils to seek bigger homes to meet local needs, including those of older and disabled people”.

London is currently the only area in the UK with minimum space standards. The Government’s proposals, now out for consultation, involve scrapping more than 90 per cent of the existing standards – cutting them down from more than 100 to fewer than 10.

Essential safety and accessibility rules will not be changed, DCLG stressed, but a mass of additional and often confusing housing standards that councils are free to apply locally – creating a patchwork of different standards – are proposed to be reduced.

The department also wants to reduce more than 1,500 pages of guidance to fewer than 80. No changes are being made to planning rules.

Don Foster said: “I’m proposing to cut needless red tape to let house builders get on with the real job of building the high quality new homes that people need, especially families and first-time buyers.

“The current mish-mash of housing standards means that from Allerdale in Cumbria to Zoar in Cornwall no same set of rules always applies – it’s confusing, bureaucratic and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Facing removal are current requirements for rainwater harvesting in places that don’t suffer from water shortages; demands for solar and wind energy sources that can’t physically fit onto the roofs of apartment buildings; a stipulation for multiple phone lines in home offices irrespective of need, and in addition to broadband connection; requirements to build accessible flats on floors that can’t be reached by disabled people and rules on window sizes that include a ‘dirty window factor’.
source: planning portal.

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