Eric Pickles has attacked the Welsh Government for introducing a regulatory ‘burden of red tape’ that will increase development costs and reduce the number of homes built in Wales.
The communities secretary panned proposed regulatory changes to the Welsh housing market in a letter sent to National Assembly member Ann Jones last week.
Mr Pickles cited complaints by housebuilders complaining about red tape including an additional cost of £13,000 a home as a result of the Welsh Government’s ‘over zealous interpretation of zero carbon and the introduction of sprinklers’.
Another complaint, flagged by the Home Builders Federations, suggested changes to Part L of Building Regulations in Wales could add £20,000 to the cost of building each home.
He wrote: ‘It is a matter of fact that the Welsh Government is increasing the cumulative burden on regulation in the housing market in Wales… By contrast, the coalition government in England is removing excessive and unnecessary regulations and planning.
‘The growing distance in relative building costs between England and Wales will place Welsh at a competitive disadvantage, diverting housing investment away from Wales.
Whatever the intentions, I fear this burden of red tape will mean less house building, fewer first time buyers and more expensive rents and mortgages in Wales.’
Welsh housing minister Carl Sargeant said Mr Pickles comments were ‘completely irrelevant’ and ‘probably ill-informed’.