New housing developments in the East of England should be designed to a higher standard and have improved access to amenities, according to the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA).
Responding to the public consultation on the Government's Housing Green Paper (which ends 15 October 2007), the Assembly is demanding that all new homes in the region must be in high quality developments with good standards of design and with a full range of neighbourhood services and facilities.
According to a recent national audit undertaken by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), only 18 per cent of new private housing built over the last five years was assessed as ‘good' or ‘very good' (see Notes to Editors).
Cllr Susan Barker, Chairman of EERA's Housing and Sustainable Communities Panel, said: "There is no excuse for building poor quality housing in the 21st century. Government must grasp the nettle and ensure that developers provide new housing that people want to live in, which they can afford and which has a low environmental impact."
The Assembly's response to the Housing Green Paper makes a number of recommendations to Government including:
- a greater proportion of the value of new housing should be used to fund essential community facilities;
- new private homes should be built to the same standards as new affordable homes supported by the public sector;
- extend the ‘eco-towns' approach to all new housing to create ‘eco-neighbourhoods'.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alastair Darling on 9 October 2007, the Government has committed to give local authorities the power to introduce new planning charges for new development. This money will then be used to fund additional services and improvements to infrastructure required to accommodate a growing population and the trend of more people living alone.
Cllr Derrick Ashley, Chairman of EERA's Regional Planning Panel, said: "We welcome the Government's decision that new housing development should help pay its way in contributing to the costs of new health, education and transport services.
"However, much greater national investment in the East of England is still required. We have concerns that the Government's recent funding announcements do not properly address this issue and that the Treasury will not be seeking advice on the region's infrastructure needs in advance of the 2008 Budget."
The Government's Housing Green Paper proposes a target of 3 million new homes by 2020 and also asks for views on how development should contribute to the provision of new infrastructure to support housing development (see Notes to Editors). The East of England Regional Assembly's response to the Housing Green Paper is available at: http://www.eera.gov.uk/category.asp?cat=462
In December 2006, the Government proposed that 508,000 new homes should be built in the East of England in the period 2001-2021 with a final decision to be made in early 2008.