Housing minister says he want to regularise social and private housing standards

Housing minister Grant Shapps has committed to sweeping away government red tape controlling the housebuilding industry with a radical review of regulation.

Speaking at the Home Builders’ Federation’s Housing Market Intelligence conference this morning, Shapps said one example of the new approach was likely to be the rationalising of the environmental standards expected between private and social housing.

He also said the government would seek to reduce the requirements for documentation to support planning applications.

He said: “You’ve probably heard governments commit to this before. But I want you to know we are as serious about this as about cutting the deficit. At the moment you have a complex web of jurisdictions and overlapping and unnecessary regulation. We’re going to work hard to reduce that.

“We want a market where councils are free to act in the interests of their communities.”

Shapps also repeated his call for a stable housing market, without the large price rises and falls of recent decades. He said: “I’m well aware of the dangers of talking about an end to boom and bust, but what is required now is a period of house price stability. I’d quite like a housing market that was, well, boring.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chair of the HBF, said: “Grant Shapps’ commitment to the removal of red tape is welcome. But we urgently need clarity on this and on how the new incentive and planning systems will work. A firm timetable for implementation of the Coalition’s new policies would give industry and communities the necessary clarity and help end the current house building hiatus.”