Plans for councils to issue developers with an approved menu of development standards have been abandoned

The government has been forced to abandon plans for councils to issue developers with an approved menu of development standards, after housebuilders argued it would fail to reduce regulation.

The plan for a “local standards framework” of regulations that developers could be subjected to by councils was outlined by Grant Shapps, the housing minister, last autumn.This was seen by the industry as a flawed attempt to limit the number of standards imposed by councils.

The plan was then undermined by a pledge in the growth plan published alongside last month’s Budget, which committed councils to consider the economic viability of development sites when forming their local plans.

Sources said Richard McCarthy, the communities department’s housing director general, agreed to explore ways to help councils quickly test site viability instead. This is seen as a crucial concession by housebuilders.

A source said: “The local standards framework will now not be progressed as proposed. The response has been so negative, they can’t keep it going.”

In addition, the department is looking to bring organisations which run standards, such as the BRE, together to slim down requirements.

A spokesperson for the communities department said: “Following a meeting last week, the views of partners are being reported back to ministers.”


East London Summit 2011 will present the real opportunities within Europe’s largest development site with the 2012 Olympic games only one year away. The event will identify where opportunities for development, construction and design are emerging and the means by which they will be realised.