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Planners call for new healthy homes legislation

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has called for change in the law to improve the quality of new homes in England.

The TCPA has published the details of a draft ‘Healthy Homes Bill’, which if it becomes law could force ministers to make sure that all new housing meets 10 quality, safety and placemaking ‘principles’.

This announcement coincides with the centenary of the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919, a key piece of legislation which helped transform the quality and delivery of council housing, giving ordinary people a decent home.

The principles include the following:

  • All new homes must be safe in relation to the risk of fire.
  • All new homes must be accessible and the environments the homes are in must have access to natural light.
  • All new homes in major developments must be within walkable neighbourhoods.
  • All new homes must have walkable access to green and play space which is open to everyone; all new homes must be resilient to a changing climate.
  • And that all new homes must meet enhanced standards to prevent unacceptable noise pollution.

‘There is a need for more homes, but it is essential that they are of a high quality. Too often that is not the case,’ said TCPA chief executive, Fiona Howie.

‘The very worst examples we have seen have come through the deregulated conversion of old office blocks and storage facilities into housing units,’ she added.

‘The creation of these cramped and substandard housing units is even more scandalous given what we know about the impact of housing conditions on people’s health and well-being. Poor quality, badly designed housing damages people’s life chances.

“In the rush to build more homes quality and safety is being overlooked. Surely everyone should agree that is unacceptable? We have gone backwards over the last 100 years.

‘The Healthy Homes Act will help make sure that new homes built today leave a positive legacy. We know there is cross party-political support for new homes and we hope there will be cross party support for this vital piece of new legislation to help transform the kinds of homes and places we are creating now and for future generations.’

Photo by Mastersenaiper (Pixabay)

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