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New Homes Ombudsman and residential permitted development rights unveiled

  • 02/10/2018
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New Homes Ombudsman and residential permitted development rights unveiled
A New Homes Ombudsman will be created to support homebuyers facing problems with their newly built property, Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced.


Speaking at the Conservative party conference, Brokenshire (pictured) pledged to speed up the planning system and make better use of land and vacant buildings to try to reach the target of building 300,000 new homes a year.

This includes introducing permitted development rights to allow property owners to extend certain buildings upwards.

The ban on the use of combustible materials on the outside of high-rise buildings, proposed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, was also confirmed.


New Homes Ombudsman

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said it will legislate to require all new developers to belong to a new homes ombudsman.

It said the watchdog will champion homebuyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.

“House buyers should be confident that when they purchase a new home, they get the quality of build and finish they expected,” the MHCLG said.

“We will work with consumers and industry to develop our proposals and publish more details in due course.

“In the meantime government expects industry to continue to improve the current redress arrangements and improve the consistency of quality for new build homes,” it added.


Planning reforms

Proposed changes to the planning system include more flexibility to extend upwards on existing blocks of flats, shops and offices making better use of space by increasing housing density.

The permitted development rights would require property owners to maintain the character of residential and conservation areas and safeguard people’s privacy.

Planning changes will also promote councils keen to make new garden communities a central part of their plans for housing and economic growth – there will be clearer rules to give more certainty for communities when land is needed to make this a reality.

Local authorities will receive additional freedom to make the most of existing brownfield land and dispose of surplus land that could instead accommodate new homes.


High-rise protections

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy the government has also confirmed that it will ban the use of combustible materials on external walls of high-rise residential buildings.

The ban will apply to hospitals, care homes and student accommodation over 18 metres.

The government also announced £165m of funding for up to 5,100 homes and the infrastructure to support these new homes in Birmingham to follow the Commonwealth Games in 2022.


Fairer housing market

Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle welcomed the news of the New Homes Ombudsman.

“We have always agreed that new homes should be covered by an ombudsman, as consumers have no idea that when they buy a new home directly from a developer they will have no access to a redress scheme,” she said.

“This announcement will mean the housing market becomes a fairer place for all involved.”



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