House builders will have to make homes 'sustainable'

Architects working with blueprints in the office. Teamwork architects concept.

House designers and builders will have to include measures to make the properties sustainable - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Renewable energy sources, water efficiency measures and ways to reduce waste will be expected to be part of all new homes being built in east Suffolk in the future.

East Suffolk Council’s cabinet has agreed a sustainable construction supplementary planning document that housing developers must consider when submitting planning applications.

The council had a document from 2013, but that only covered the Waveney portion of the district. The new plan will supersede that and bring its policies up to date.

The document says it is not about setting building standards - as they are determined by building regulations - but “includes information about how sustainable construction methods and materials used in new development can reduce the construction and operational impact on our environment, wildlife, climate change and health and wellbeing”.

David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council.

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council - Credit: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning, said: “The supplementary planning document contains guidance on a range of topics, including water efficiency and management, energy efficiency and carbon reduction, materials, waste, the design and orientation of buildings, designing buildings with nature in mind, renewables and low carbon energy schemes, construction methods, and healthy buildings designed for environmental sustainability and the wellbeing of occupants.

“Supplementary planning documents in general do not add new policies or set new requirements, the SPD seeks to provide guidance and further detail that will help with the implementation of relevant policies in the local plan.

“On adoption, the sustainable construction supplementary planning document will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.”

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James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment, added that it was about East Suffolk “showing leadership” on the environment.

Among the measures in the document are supporting the retention of buildings rather than demolition where feasible, orientating buildings to make the best use of natural light and heat, and water efficiency standards for shower installations.

The SPD was sculpted with input from officers and a public consultation last year, and scrutinised by a working group through its development.

Peter Byatt, leader of Labour at East Suffolk Council and councillor for Kirkley and Pakefield

Peter Byatt, leader of the Labour contingent at East Suffolk Council and councillor for Kirkley and Pakefield - Credit: MAXINE CLARKE/EAST SUFFOLK LABOUR

Peter Byatt, leader of the opposition Labour group, said it was “a great piece of guidance” and added: “No builder, no developer could say they don’t know – all they have got to do is read what should be done.”