Brokenshire promises to fix the broken housing market

By Viv Onslow

Tory Party Conference Birmingham

Yesterday at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, announced a housing ombudsman designed to ‘champion homebuyers’ and addresses some serious failings in the current system. As part of the package of new housing measures and updates he also announced a ban on combustible cladding, bringing about a change in culture to safety.

Brokenshire said: “If you aspire to own your own home I will help you, I will support you… to break down the barriers between you and the opportunities you deserve,”. His speech included a message to prime minister Theresa May that housing should be her biggest domestic priority, and reaffirmed commitments to build 300,000 homes by the 2020s. He said the green belt would continue to be protected, while development would be encouraged on brownfield

In an interesting twist the new legislation states that developers would be ‘required’ to join the ombudsman to ensure they can be held to account on buildings that fail.

This announcement follows a report from June this year entitled ‘Better redress for homebuyers’ which was produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment.  The group has suggested that the ombudsman should be independent and free of charge to encourage unity and looks to provide quick resolution to consumer complaints.  The report recommends a single portal for dispute resolution services which will span the entire residential sector.

Excellent news for the construction industry comes from Brokenshire’s revelation to introduce measures to accelerate the planning system and utilise land and vacant buildings.  New permitted development rights will mean that property owners will be able to extend upwards on existing flats, shops and offices.

The statement included positive news for Councils who will have more freedom to utilise existing brownfield land and dispose of surplus land to accommodate more new homes.

To the residents of the UK, Brokenshire said: “If you aspire to own your own home then I want to say this to you. We will help you. We will build the homes our country needs. We will fix our broken housing market and make it work for you.”