Sector - Sports, Culture & Leisure

Delivering housing commitment

A number of new measures have been announced this week, designed to help deliver on the government’s commitment to homebuyers and to improving the housing market.

With a promise to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, the government has promised to speed up the planning system as well as make better use of land and vacant buildings to provide the homes that communities need. This includes more flexibility to extend upwards on existing blocks of flats, shops and offices making better use of space by increasing housing density.

While a New Homes Ombudsman will champion the rights of homebuyers, supporting them when facing problems with their newly built home and ensuring build quality is of an expected high standard.

The government will also champion ambitious councils, who are keen to make new garden communities a central part of their plans for housing and economic growth; developing clearer rules to give more certainty for communities when land is needed to make this a reality.

Local authorities will also receive additional freedom to make the most of existing brownfield land and dispose of surplus land that could instead accommodate new homes.

As part of its comprehensive programme to improve building safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government has also confirmed that it will ban the use of combustible materials on external walls of high-rise residential buildings. The ban will also apply to hospitals, care homes and student accommodation over 18m.

This ban will be delivered through changes to building regulations and will limit materials available to products achieving a European classification of Class A1 or A2.

Finally, the government also announced measures to ensure a lasting legacy from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham; confirming a £165M funding boost, which will unlock up to 5,100 homes in Birmingham and support the wider regeneration of the Perry Barr area through major infrastructure projects. A Commonwealth Games Village will be developed, providing a home-away-from-home for athletes and officials which will provide road, and public transport improvements including upgrading the railway station, to support both new and existing communities.

With construction due to begin in 2019, the government will work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City council to support these ambitious plans.

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