RIBA - Councils Should Not Be Rewarded for Building Poor Quality Homes

RIBA: Councils Should Not Be Rewarded for Building Poor Quality Homes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has welcomed the publication of the Government's proposals on the New Homes Bonus, but warned that the quality as well as quantity of homes being delivered must be improved.

The proposals, announced today by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, will provide almost £1billion of financial incentives to councils that build new homes, through a match-funded council tax payment for each new home being built in their area.

Councils will also benefit from a higher level of funding for encouraging new affordable homes to be built in the local area, with council tax matched and then supplemented by £350 per home each year for six years

"We are not building enough homes in England, and we are also not building the right type of homes. The intent of the New Homes Bonus is sound, and we support the Government's ambition to increase housing supply, however we want Government to be clear that it will not support councils that fail to deliver high quality housing," said Ruth Reed, RIBA President.

"Too many badly designed housing schemes are currently being given planning permission; councils need both the support and direction from Government to ensure that this doesn't continue to happen. We believe that guidance on design, sustainability and space for new homes should be set out within Local Plans and that the Bonus should only be paid for homes which meet these standards.

We cannot afford another decade of failure or another generation of poor quality, inappropriate and unsustainable homes. Housing is about people, not just bricks and mortar, and we should be building homes that are fit for purpose today and will be capable of adapting to our long-term needs. The market is currently failing to deliver this, but Government - locally and nationally - has a major role to play in bringing about change."