Heritage chief warns over 'identikit' homes

Reports that the chief executive of English Heritage has predicted 'draconian' measures from whichever party is next in power to force historic towns and cities to double or treble in size feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that the chief executive of built environment conservation adviser English Heritage has warned that market towns could be forced to treble in size with "huge slabs of identikit" housing developments after the election. According to the newspaper, Simon Thurley said historic towns and cities will soon be put under "huge pressure" to build exponentially to fulfil a perceived housing need.

The Telegraph also reports that more than eight million households have two or more unoccupied spare rooms "at a time when housing shortages have reached crisis levels in some areas". According to the newspaper, an analysis of the 2011 Census results has found that almost seven out of 10 homes in England and Wales are considered officially "under-occupied", with at least one bedroom not regularly in use.

The Guardian reports that London mayor Boris Johnson is set to approve plans for affordable flats that "could cost tenants up to £2,800 a month to rent". According to the newspaper, the London mayor is expected to grant consent today for the construction of 98 "affordable rent" apartments on the site of the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant sorting office in central London "in a deal that critics say makes a mockery of the idea that affordable housing is for the most needy".

The Guardian also reports that a group of young single mothers and campaigners who occupied vacant east London flats last month in protest at plans to demolish a housing estate "have claimed an interim victory in their battle with Newham Council, after it dropped plans to evict them within 24 hours". The newspaper says that the Focus e15 campaigners agreed to leave the properties by 7 October, but said that they would fight on to save the Carpenter estate in Stratford from demolition.

The Times (subscription required) reports that the government’s £12 billion subsidised mortgage scheme has been given the all-clear by the Bank of England, despite criticisms from organisations including the International Monetary Fund. According to the newspaper, in a letter to the chancellor, Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, said Help to Buy did not pose a risk to financial stability and had not driven up house prices.

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