MHCLG set to toughen up on inclusivity and wildlife

Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced that planning guidance is set to be toughened to address segregation in mixed-tenure schemes.

MHCLG said its measures would help eradicate “poor doors” - described as separate entrances for social housing residents in developments of private and affordable housing – “and other forms of segregation, such as restrictions on access to playgrounds”.

To support this, the government plans to produce a Design Manual to champion best practice in inclusive design “and help ensure planning decisions promote social interaction in communities”.

The measures form part of the government’s new Communities Framework, which outlines its vision for building communities “with a stronger sense of belonging and shared prosperity,” it said.

MHCLG said its moves were in response to engagement with social housing residents before and after the publication of its Social Housing Green Paper. Its engagement revealed that stigma was a key issue facing these occupants.

James Brokenshire, Housing secretary, said: “Social housing has transformed the lives of millions of people over the past 100 years. It has the power to continually shape lives for the better, but we need to see residents being treated with the respect they deserve. We want to end that real sense of stigma social housing residents have experienced, and today’s new measures show our commitment to stamping it out, before it can begin.”

Separately, MHCLG has published guidance on how housebuilders should protect wildlife, with recommended measures including “hedgehog highways” – space for hedgehogs to roam through back gardens to seek food and shelter - and hollow swift bricks which are installed into the walls of new build homes, allowing birds to nest.

MHCLG said the launch of the guidance followed a showing of public interest for protecting “these much-loved animals, with one petition receiving support from over half a million people”.

The government has also instructed the industry to plant more trees and green meadows.

MHCLG’s guidance builds on the government’s planning rulebook from last year, which introduced the concept of environmental net gain, requiring housebuilders to ensure they provide space for wildlife alongside new homes.

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