Planning Minister, Nick Boles, has appealed to house-builders to look beyond their “net value” and to their responsibilities to the British public in the run up to the general election.
Boles spoke at HBF’s planning conference sponsored by Barton Willmore. He referred to the Labour party’s alternative approach to housing as a “real and present threat”, to the coalition’s “liberal approach” which allowed “house-builders to do things whilst protecting what is precious”.
He also expressed surprise that few house-builders had been appealing against difficult local authorities and described their actions as “an example of short term interests undermining the long term interests of the people who rely on [them] to build.”
The Minister also made comment on housing design. He said this is yet another example of house-builders focusing too much on figures and spending. Instead, they should apply a “family and friends” test to help build homes that would be accepted.
“Ask yourself – ‘would I be happy for my parents to live in this house that I’ve built? Would I be happy for people at a dinner party I attend to know that I built those homes at the end of the street? And would I be happy for this house to be built next to my home?'”
He did add that the quality of house-building was improving, but that there was “still a long way to go” before people would accept new homes in their towns as a positive addition.
Referring back to Labour’s housing proposals, he said:”If we don’t manage to achieve this, we know there is an alternative. We might get more homes, but they won’t be done with your consent and will not produce beautiful, organic communities.”