Housing Secretary of State promises to be bold in boosting innovation and new home building

Housing is the top priority for the UK Government with Secretary of State James Brokenshire pledging to be bold and radical in terms of boosting homes and revamping planning.

He told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that barriers to home building will be removed and he also announced that there will be a new Homes Ombudsman.

Brokenshire said that brownfield land should be prioritised for development but planners and developers also have to consider land that’s already built on and build upwards but added that green belt and the environment would be protected.

‘But we need to be smarter on how we use land and the space available,’ he explained, adding that he will publish proposals to permit people to build up on existing buildings rather than build out and give Councils greater powers to deliver garden communities.

Katrine Sporle, the Property Ombudsman, welcomed the news about a New Homes Ombudsman. ‘We have always agreed that new homes should be covered by an Ombudsman, as consumers have no idea that when they buy a new home directly from a developer they will have no access to a redress scheme. This announcement will mean the housing market becomes a fairer place for all involved,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Björn Conway, chief executive of ilke Homes, said he hopes that Brokenshire will follow through with his pledge to be bold and that his proposals will boost innovation in the housing sector.

‘Offsite construction is ideally suited to drive this innovation. Yet, with planning approval rates for large sites stretching over an average of five years and an average single family home taking six months to build, we desperately need a revolution in our approach to both planning and construction,’ he pointed out.

He explained that his firm build high quality housing of equal standard to a traditional build in just two weeks and can install six homes a day onsite. ‘Only by looking at innovative ways to speed up the process of homebuilding will we be able to address the housing crisis and deliver the number of homes needed in the UK,’ he added.