Social Rented Housing: Standards

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Stewart Jackson Stewart Jackson Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what space standards (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations are required to follow when (i) building and (ii) purchasing new dwellings for social tenants.

Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government)

The Government have no specific existing policy on the application of dwelling space standards for private sector homes. However, the Government's Planning Policy Statement 3: "Housing" (PPS3) is clear on the need to achieve high quality new housing, including promoting designs and layouts which make efficient use of land, encouraging innovative approaches to help deliver high quality outcomes, and contribute positively to making places better for people.

The Government's new delivery body, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is currently reviewing the benchmarks for high quality urban design, construction and environmental sustainability, including any space standards for new homes funded by the public sector.

In the meantime the HCA is continuing to operate under the regimes set in place by the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, whereby (i) Design and Quality Strategy and Standards set out the Housing Corporation's requirements and recommendations for all housing projects which received Social Housing Grant, and (ii) Housing Quality Indicators set out English Partnership's requirements, both of which included a space standard.

Where local authorities build or acquire homes with funding from the HCA they are expected to meet the relevant conditions of the grant, and compliance with development standards is one of these.

Where HCA are purchasing stock from developers from the £200 million earmarked for this purpose, the Government have agreed that they may be flexible on design and quality standards to help house builders maintain housing production through the current difficult market conditions.

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