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RIBA: New Homes Bonus must deliver 'quality as well as quantity'

The RIBA has cautiously backed Tory-Lib Dem coalition’s proposals on the New Homes Bonus

However, the institute said the quality of housing must also be increased, not just the quantity, and urged the government not to handouts to councils who build sub-standard stock.

Announced by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, the plans provide nearly £1 billion for house-building councils via match-funded council tax payments for each new home in the local authority areas.

A supplement of £350 per house every year for six years is also being offered to councils who build ‘affordable’ homes.

Institute president Ruth Reed said: ‘We are not building enough homes in England, and we are also not building the right type of homes.

‘The intent of the New Homes Bonus is sound, and we support the Government’s ambition to increase housing supply, however we want Government to be clear that it will not support councils that fail to deliver high-quality housing.

‘Too many badly designed housing schemes are currently being given planning permission; councils need both the support and direction from Government to ensure that this doesn’t continue to happen.

‘We believe that guidance on design, sustainability and space for new homes should be set out within local plans and that the bonus should only be paid for homes which meet these standards.’

We cannot afford another decade of failure or another generation of poor quality, inappropriate and unsustainable homes

She added: ‘We cannot afford another decade of failure or another generation of poor quality, inappropriate and unsustainable homes. Housing is about people, not just bricks and mortar, and we should be building homes that are fit for purpose today and will be capable of adapting to our long-term needs.

‘The market is currently failing to deliver this but government, locally and nationally, has a major role to play in bringing about change.’

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