Housing: New Homes Debate

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Lord Krebs

Main Page: Lord Krebs (Crossbench - Life peer)

Housing: New Homes

Lord Krebs Excerpts
Tuesday 11th February 2020

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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The noble Lord is correct that, once planning permission is granted—which can take about two years—it is in everyone’s interests, including the developer and the local community, that the site is built on. Last year, we saw more than 375,000 grants of planning permission. The noble Lord is aware that in 2018 Sir Oliver Letwin was asked to review whether there was a hold-up of what is called the build-out rate. His main conclusion was about the absorption rate of bringing large numbers of units into the local market. He recommended that we diversify the type of units on each site, so they can be put on the market in smaller groups, appeal more widely and not affect the market price.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister will be aware that many new houses are being built in flood-risk areas. Between 2001 and 2014, 250,000 new homes were built in such areas and currently the number being built in them is increasing year on year. Many of these houses are being built against Environment Agency advice. Although some are protected by hard flood defences, does the noble Baroness agree that two measures should be crucial to all new building developments; namely, the installation of sustainable urban drainage systems and, secondly, the removal of the automatic right to connect to often overloaded Victorian drains?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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The noble Lord is correct to raise this issue, given the effects of the recent storm. Many communities are today living with the effects of flooding in their properties. However, it would be unrealistic to ban all development in flood-risk areas because around 10% of England and parts of London are viewed as being at high risk. These decisions need to be taken locally and carefully, and the Environment Agency is one of the statutory bodies that needs to be consulted on planning.