The standards proposed new minimum internal space and storage requirements for the first time since the abolition of the lamented Parker Morris standards, abolished by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1980. They would also have required new homes to meet as a minimum the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4.
Announcing the decision, Mr Shapps said "we're lifting burdens from the backs of builders", claiming the standards would have cost developers an extra £8,000 for every home. Echoing the Department of Health's "responsibility deals", where fast food companies McDonald's and KFC are helping to write government policy on obesity, he announced:
"House builders are the experts at building homes, so I'm inviting them to be in charge of developing a new framework for local building standards - one which enables communities to get the high quality homes they demand, but without causing unnecessary costs and delays for developers."The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) expressed serious concern at the announcement; RIBA President Ruth Reed said:
"This is a deeply troubling decision that will have profound implications for communities across the country.The National Housing Federation, which has been lobbying to harmonising building standards across tenures, commented:
The proposed HCA standards were designed to raise the overall quality of publicly funded housing and ensure that new homes meet the most basic of lifestyle needs – reform was desperately needed."
"We look forward to working with Government to ensure that the new local standards framework reduces red tape and delivers high quality homes, as well as helping achieve the ambitious goal of all new homes being zero carbon by 2016."