Ministers remove 'red tape' and 'alphabet soup' of standards that deter development, and offer community incentives

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has pledged to put the full weight of the new Coalition Government behind cutting red tape and making it easier for developers to get projects started and the homes the country needs built.

He also outlines incentives that will encourage neighbourhoods to accept new homes – the 'powerful' New Homes Bonus. Communities could see reductions in council tax, or a redeveloped town centre or a new community centre in compensation for accepting new homes. Under the New Homes Bonus scheme, the government will match the council tax raised on each new house for six years.

The HBF has called for more detail from the government on how new house building incentives and the reformed planning system will work. HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: 'Grant Shapps’ commitment to the removal of red tape is welcome and we are keen to work with government to create their planned climate for delivery.

'But we urgently need clarity on this and on how the new incentive and planning systems will work.'

Said Shapps: 'We have wasted no time scrapping the ineffective top-down planning system that forced unsustainable development on communities and are returning control of a much faster and more responsive planning system to local people.

'We will not tell communities how or where to build, or how they should grow. But the New Homes Bonus will ensure that those communities that go for growth reap the benefits of development, not just the costs.'

He highlighted the steps the Government are already taking to tackle the key obstacles house-builders currently face, and future plans to cut red tape and make it easier and less costly for them to get building work underway.

The Minister pledged to tackle the 'alphabet soup' of standards and red tape that blight efforts to start new developments, and will call on industry leaders to work with Government in a new drive to simplify the system.
This work to cut red tape will complement the ongoing review of building regulations launched by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell earlier this year. 

The review is in addition to a groundbreaking new One In, One Out system which began last month, where Ministers seeking to introduce new regulations that will impose costs on business have to identify current regulations of equivalent value that can be removed.

Mr Shapps also highlighted Government efforts to bring an end to the conflicts of the past between developers and residents with the introduction of the New Homes Bonus, so that those communities going for growth now and in the future will receive direct and substantial extra funding to spend as they wish.

Grant Shapps said: 'Last year, housebuilding hit its lowest level for any peacetime year since 1924 as developers have been hampered by regional targets that put them in direct conflict with local communities and an alphabet soup of regulations and red tape they have to navigate.

'Today I have a clear message to housebuilders large and small - we are on your side. I am determined to make it easier to build the homes this country needs.  Appropriate building standards, applied sensibly, help developers and communities alike, but they can only be effective if they are easier to understand. That's why I want to simplify the process for housebuilders to meet the standards communities demand.

'But I also want to make it easier for these companies to complete new developments where they are wanted. That's why we will introduce powerful new incentives so those communities that give the green light to developments see the benefits of the new homes in their area.'

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