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Chairman of Welsh Housbuilder criticises Government

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Steve Morgan, the chairman of the Wales’ biggest house builders Redrow, has criticised the Welsh government over their housing policies, and has claimed that compared to the English government they are going backwards.  He has argued that the Welsh governments’ new housing policies mean it is no longer economic to build in certain parts of Wales, and that they could lead to the average cost of a three bedroom home to end up being eleven thousand pounds more than in England.

He said: “Every one of our businesses in the last 18 months have grown – some by 50% – except in Wales where we have slipped back about 10% and it is not for want of trying.  We have always built in the valleys, but with the emerging regulations and the silly sprinkler systems and the additional costs and space standards, which you don’t get in England, and without the support from First Buy and New Buy, there are parts of Wales where it is uneconomical for us to build.  Looking at the housing starts in Wales and compare them to the improving trend in England – Wales is going backwards.”

“At the moment for a typical three bedroom house it actually costs us about £1,500 more in build costs in Wales than on the other side of the Bridge.  You are looking at, if everything goes in line with the proposals, an £11,000 differential building on the Welsh side of the boarder to the English side in 2015.  Selling prices are only about £165 a square foot.  That’s the market rate.  They are only little things themselves, but they add up to the point that if it’s £165 a sq ft you can’t do it.  The market is shrinking.  If these proposals come through on Part L with the next round of changes on the planning and with the sprinklers it’s going to be catastrophic.”

The new “Part L” proposals include new regulations for building houses which cover energy conservation, standards on living space, and including sprinklers in all new premises.  Landlords in Wales will also be concerned over these new proposals, as it may mean that they will have to charge high rent prices for any new properties during a time when most people have a lack of income.  Furthermore, they may have to pay more for their landlord insurance policies so that the energy conservation and sprinkler technologies are covered in their policies.

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