Developers 'need to ask themselves whether they're building the conservation areas of the future'

A call from the housing minister for better design standards from developers and a fall in UK house prices feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times reports that Kit Malthouse told the Conservative party conference he wanted to "build more, build better and build faster". Design appears to be a priority for the recently appointed housing minister, who said: "I tell developers to bear two things in mind: they’re not just building homes but building neighbourhoods; and they need to ask themselves whether they’re building the conservation areas of the future." Malthouse suggested people would be less likely to object to new homes if they were involved in the design process.

UK house prices recorded their largest fall since April, according to the Financial Times. The paper reports the latest data from Halifax, which shows prices fell by 1.4 per cent in September, the second successive monthly decline and the largest in five months.

Plans for a care home village in the West Midlands have been rejected by councillors despite officers recommending approval, reports the Solihull Observer. Applicant Richmond Villages was seeking permission for 134 units in the green belt, the paper says. Members are said to have ruled the development would "set a dangerous precedent". Councillor Jim Ryan told the paper: "If we agree to this application in the green belt we are throwing away all our policies which we have built up over the years which protect valuable greenbelt around Solihull which many people enjoy."

Debate has been sparked about the future of the York local plan after the latest household projections were published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), says The Press. Household growth projections for York have been revised down from 884 per year to 442, it says. Some councillors have since called for the local plan to be reviewed, it reports - reopening a long-running row over housing targets in a city which has not had a local plan since the 1950s.

Meanwhile, Arun District Council has pledged to press ahead with its local plan preparations - despite the latest ONS projections, according to local press. A council spokesman told the Littlehampton Gazette: "As far as we see it, this doesn’t have an effect on the agreed local plan."

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