Lords issue critical report on government housing policies

Morris Peterborough Development Impression

Peers have added their voice to those criticising current government policies as unlikely to meet demand for either the quantity or quality of new homes needed.

The Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has published a report which urged the government to appoint a chief built environment advisor to champion higher standards in the built environment across government departments.

The report also recommended that ministers should review the National Planning Policy Framework to make sure developers weren’t using financial viability “to play fast and loose with design quality and sustainability”.

Peers want the administration to publish a nationally consistent methodology for viability assessment.

The committee said the government should reconsider the proposal to include ‘starter homes’ within the definition of affordable housing since “starter homes cease to include any element of affordability after five years”.

Peers also wanted design reviews to be mandatory for all major planning applications.

Their report also made the case for planning departments to be better resourced. “Planning profession needs to rediscover the prestige planning once had,” said the peers and urged more proactive planning by local authorities.

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