Town and Country Planning Association (Healthy Homes Act)

Funding at a glance

Programme: Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System
Amount: £232,518 grant
Approved: 2019
Timescale: 20 months
Status: Funding in progress
Phase: Decent Affordable Homes Phase Two

Campaigning to introduce legislation that would transform the decency standards of new homes and prevent permitted development from creating poor housing.

Why we are funding this project

To modernise the planning system to prevent the creation of poor housing. This will be done by implementing a basic standard that will apply to all new homes, including permitted development.

Strategic purpose

To ensure that promising ideas are implemented at a local and national level.

Project description

Property decency standards are an issue for many people around the UK, meaning that they live in homes that cause harm to their mental and physical wellbeing.

Recently, particular concern has been raised about permitted development, which means there are now multiple examples of office buildings or storage facilities that have been converted to homes.

Many of these permitted development homes have limited, or sometimes no natural light, room sizes that fall far below space standards and no access to amenities such as playgrounds or greenspaces. Although examples of decent homes can be found, the overall quality of conversions through permitted development has been poor.

To protect households that are at risk of harm being housed in unacceptable conditions, there needs to be a rethink of standards for new homes being built. TCPA is taking action by seeking to introduce new legislation that would transform the quality of new homes by creating consistent standards across England and Wales, and outlaw poor quality housing being created through permitted development rights.

TCPA has drafted a Healthy Homes Bill, which sets out 11 high-level principles, which, taken together, define what is meant by a decent home. These principles are that all new homes should:

  • Be safe in relation to the risk of fire
  • Have adequate space
  • Have access to natural light
  • Must meet people’s lifetime needs and be adaptable
  • Be accessible and located in accessible environments
  • Prioritise walkable services and sustainable transport
  • Be built in line with the Climate Change Act 2008
  • Have access to green space and play areas that are accessible to all
  • Be resilient to a changing climate
  • Be secure and meet design standards which reduce and prevent crime
  • Meet standards to eradicate noise pollution

The funding from the Nationwide Foundation will be used by TCPA in three different ways: evidence will be built to support the need for minimum standards of housing; work will take place to strengthen and redefine the proposed legislation; and finally, TCPA will campaign to ensure support for the Healthy Homes Bill.

In September 2020, the Nationwide Foundation granted additional funding to the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). Using the funding, the TCPA is able to create evidence about the impact of the government’s proposed changes to the planning system on the quality of homes. TCPA is also sharing the evidence with policymakers, including providing a formal response to the government’s consultation, as well as briefings for interested parliamentarians. This, in turn, continues to support and promote the draft Healthy Homes Bill by highlighting the need for improved quality to be built into any new planning system and its design codes.


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