News: Housebuilders failing green responsibilities

A survey of planners has revealed that nearly half of all major housebuilders were rated as poor or very poor when it comes to understanding their environmental responsibilities, with a further 41% rated as moderate.

The survey carried out by the Royal Town Planning Institute in conjunction with Planning Magazine also revealed that 82% of planners who responded said conflict existed when they made suggestions to improve the scheme.

Just 11% of planners think developers are excellent or good.

The RTPI said it was clear from the comments received that without tough new measures developers, especially volume housebuilders, will not meet their responsibilities if it impacts on profits.

Poor design by housebuilders was also highlighted in the survey. One respondent said: "Nearly all of the big housing developers are guilty of just seeking to cram as many of their standard range of house types on all their sites regardless of their context or local environment."

"The designs of the houses put forward are usually bland and unimaginative and pastiche designs of old architectural styles with little attempt to explore new architectural design/ideas."

In almost 9 out of 10 cases planning applications were missing information that would allow planners to make a quick decision on the application. In requests for further information only 18% were rated as good or excellent with no resistance to the advice given to bring the application up to standard.

"What is clear from this survey is that planners and house builders need to improve their relationship," said RTPI president Clive Harridge. "Planners have a role to play in helping house builders to meet their design and environmental responsibilities."

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