An influential committee of the House of Lords has waded into the argument over whether the government’s new Starter Homes are affordable.
The House of Lords committee on National Policy for the Built Environment says the government cannot meet the target of 240,000 new houses needed annually by relying on private developers alone, and instead should bring in councils and housing associations to help.
The committee is also calling on the government to reconsider the proposal to include Starter Homes within the definition of affordable housing. The committee says the current proposals "risks undermining mixed communities and preventing the delivery of genuinely affordable housing for the long-term."
Earlier this week Estate Agent Today reported that the Local Government Association also has serious concerns over the affordability of Starter Homes.
The House of Lords committee is also warning that the relaxation of planning restrictions and the removal of national building standards, including the zero carbon homes requirement, risks storing-up long term problems if poor quality developments are approved without proper scrutiny.
The committee states that "speed need not come at the expense of quality, and a short-sighted approach runs the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past."
Baroness O’Cathain, who chairs the committe, says it is clear we need more houses.
“However if we build those houses in the wrong place, to a poor standard, without the consent of local communities we are only storing up future misery for the people in those houses and others nearby. That’s why we are recommending local authorities are once again empowered both to build new homes of their own, and to ensure all developments are of a suitably high quality” she says.