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Response to Dominic Raab speech

1 May 2018
Reading Time: 1 min

Jason LonghurstResponse to Dominic Raab speech Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Design Quality Conference 25th April 2018 

Jason Longhurst, Chairman UKBCSD and Director of Regeneration and Business, Central Bedfordshire Council

Congratulations to Dominic Raab – yes, we should be building homes on a large scale, they should be ‘wonderful, thriving places to live’ and, as he says, these should be mutually reinforcing goals, not competing priorities.  But where is the mention of sustainability?  The ‘S’ word is so often missed from these conversations, yet it is fundamentally important to all future development. Sustainable development is a long-term restructuring solution for the industry.

We should be talking about homes (quality, aspirational), not housing (commodity). The emphasis on housing numbers drives down the quality of homes.  Design quality is currently not prescriptive enough so it’s no surprise that there are inconsistencies in Local Authority planning responses.  Yet with more design prescription we will, at the outset, be able to sympathetically address issues including creating homes that are resilient to rising energy costs, or liveable enough for ageing communities.

Sustainable methods of construction, such as Off-Site Manufacturing, provide the antidote to traditional wet trade design and construction, which bear the burden of long term high costs for occupiers, for example, heating, maintenance and adapting for life changes. OSM offers real solutions for mass scale building.  The Government is in a unique position to implement the restructuring necessary to rid the market of a tired supply side, rapidly increasing the numbers of well designed, quality new homes a sustainable Britain needs.