Details of new eco standards for new homes in England expected within weeks Details of the Future Homes Standard 2025 announced by the Chancellor in his Spring Statement are expected to be announced soon with a consultation process promised for this Spring. The standards will set out what is needed so that new homes built in England have the latest green technology with the aim of driving down energy bills and reduce the impact on the environment, Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire has confirmed. He said that emissions from heating existing homes is the single largest contributing factor to the UK’s carbon footprint and new homes will need to be more sustainable. He also revealed that the Future Homes Standard will build on the Prime Minister’s Clean Growth Grand Challenge mission to at least halve the energy use of new build property by 2030, and halve the cost of renovating existing buildings to a similar standard as new buildings, while increasing quality and safety. Brokenshire believes that the millions of pounds in extra funding and new planning measures recently announced will result in tens of thousands of new homes being built, rejuvenate High Streets, create jobs and deliver economic growth. ‘The measures, unveiled by the Chancellor, are part of our wider strategy to deliver 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s. The package will unlock large housing sites with targeted £717 million infrastructure funding, reform parts of the planning system and ensure new-builds are more energy efficient, and help the country meet climate change targets,’ he said. ‘We’re pulling all the levers available to build homes and opportunities in our communities. These new measures and funding mark our continued commitment to ensuring the housing market works for everyone and economic growth is shared across the country,’ he pointed out. ‘The Chancellor’s announcement follows a sustained increase in the number of homes delivered. Last year England delivered over 222,000 new homes, the highest in all but one of the last 31 years,’ he added. The next wave of the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, totalling £717 million, has been confirmed for key areas across England including £250 million to build nearly 13,000 new homes close to the new HS2 railway station at Old Oak Common in London. There is also £21.7 million to help deliver a new 1,675 home garden village in Cheshire East through the upgrading and improvement of existing roads, provision of a new village high street and a new footbridge. The Northern Fringe East in Cambridge gets £227 million to deliver up to 8,625 new homes through the relocation of drainage and sewerage facilities, opening up brownfield land for development. The access to Didcot Garden Town project in Oxfordshire, has £218 million to unlock up to 13,411 new homes with upgraded road links, including new bridges over the River Thames and Great Western Railway to alleviate traffic. A further £320 million will be made separately available to Barnet council to deliver at least 7,500 homes at Brent Cross Cricklewood. The money will be spent on a new train station on the Thameslink route, which is essential for the homes to be built. The Government will also stand behind £3 billion of loans to housing associations, supporting them to build tens of thousands of affordable properties across the country which will come from the £8 billion of housing guarantees the Chancellor announced in his 2017 Autumn Budget. The scheme will open for bids from housing associations in due course and previous programmes have helped 66 housing associations to build around 35,000 new homes since 2013. A further £1 billion of the overall £8 billion will be made available to small and medium enterprise house builders in the private sector, as announced by the Chancellor in last year’s Budget. This scheme, which will be called the ENABLE Build Guarantee Scheme, will open to applications from banks in April. Also coming up is new planning guidance which will be published for councils, to help them get the right homes finished on large sites more quickly. Sir Oliver Letwin’s review, published at Autumn Budget, concluded that greater diversity of homes on sites with more than 1,500 homes would increase buildout rates. In response, the government will publish guidance for councils on building diverse range of homes on large sites. A new Accelerated Planning Green Paper will also be published to accelerate the planning process for new homes from when ideas are still on the architect’s drawing board and well before shovels hit the ground. Details of the new Green Paper will be published in due course. New planning rules will be brought in so the owners of High Street premises can change the way the buildings are used more easily including change of use from most retail uses to offices without planning permission. For example, shops could be turned into offices and takeaways could be turned into homes under the suite of changes being brought forward. There will also be a new right to allow buildings to extend upwards to create new homes, which respect the existing design of communities and the impact on neighbours and the time limited permitted development right to allow for larger rear extensions to homes will be continued.