The government has revealed that it’s to ‘test’ the workings of the New Homes Ombudsman before the scheme formally launches.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has told the Home Builders Federation that the much-vaunted new homes scheme will be the subject of a formal consultation period “soon” - no more specific timescale is given - with the aim of protecting home buyers and championing better build quality.
“We’ll also look to accelerate the New Homes Ombudsman’s development by exploring the option to introduce it in shadow form before its formal launch” says Brokenshire - again without further explanation of how the ‘shadow form’ will operate and over what timescale.
The Cabinet minister’s speech to the HBF was quietly critical of the new homes sector, especially the quality and appearance of the product.
“If we’re to build more, we have to build better. I think that provides the incentive to get things done more quickly, to see that we are able to fulfil our ambitions of development, and how that helps all of us” he said in one part of his speech.
“I will be considering carefully how the developers who work with us meet the standards and quality that customers expect and deserve … Whether we’re talking about banning unjustified leaseholds or improving quality and design, it’s in all our interests to create a fairer, stronger, more diverse housing market that responds to what consumers and communities want. And those consumers and communities want to see not just more homes, but better homes” he said in another part.
And in relation to the government’s objectives of encouraging the building of 300,000 new homes a year, Brokenshire added: “This isn’t simply about getting the numbers up. It’s also about delivering high quality homes that are, yes, beautiful, and stand the test of time. That grow a sense of place and pride, and not undermine it. That do build on the best of what’s gone before, but also harness the latest innovations whilst keeping our feet firmly grounded in what communities want and need. Because we’re not simply building units. We’re building communities. And as output increases to 300,000 new homes a year, these issues of quality and design will only become more important, not less.”