Boost for building plan
Bosses have welcomed measures announced this week to boost house building.
Prime Minister David Cameron this week unveiled a package which he said would build another 70,000 houses and create 140,000 jobs.
He said this would be achieved by relaxing planning regulations and easing the requirements on builders to provide a certain amount of affordable homes.
Treasury funding of £300 million has been found to help provide up to 15,000 such properties and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use, Downing Street said.
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Families will be allowed to extend their properties by up to eight metres (26.2ft) without gaining full permission, and rules on shops and offices expanding will be loosened.
Another £280 million was pledged to extend the FirstBuy scheme which provides first time buyers with a 20 per cent deposit to make their first step onto the housing ladder.
He said: "This Government means business in delivering plans to help people, build new homes and kick-start the economy. We're determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back.
"That starts with getting the planners off our backs.
"Getting behind the businesses that have the ambition to expand.
"And meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home.''
Linden Homes group managing director, Ian Baker, welcomed the plans.
He said: "I'm pleased to see the government formally backing our house-building industry which is crucial if we are going to significantly boost the economy. The announcement is a vital step in the right direction and what this country needs.
"Reinvigorating FirstBuy will provide hundreds of first time buyers with the confidence that they can make a leap onto the housing ladder."
Paul Walters, regional sales manager for Miller Homes East Midlands, said: "We welcome these additional measures by the Government to help further stimulate the housing market and indeed the wider economy.
"Availability of finance continues to be a key issue for potential purchasers, particularly for first time buyers who play a critical role in maintaining the market flow, therefore we are very pleased to see the FirstBuy scheme extended.
"Cutting red-tape around planning further enhances the sentiment around the National Planning Policy Framework and should help the market gain momentum over the coming months."
Labour leader Ed Miliband said he feared it would not have "the success the Government is hoping''. "A one-year holiday from the current rules on planning for a conservatory extension of up to eight metres into a garden does not represent an economic plan,'' he said.