Low-Cost housing — [Mrs Cheryl Gillan in the Chair] (8 Feb 2017)

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun 9:50 am, 8th February 2017

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Gillan. As a Back Bencher, it is certainly unusual for me to be second in the speaking order.

I congratulate John Penrose on securing the debate. He has campaigned on this issue and raised it in Parliament before, so it is clearly something that he is keen to see progress. I agree in principle with much of what he said about ensuring vibrancy in main streets at night. If that can be done by building upwards above shops, that is a good thing, but in the long run we really need to be careful. I have already touched on my concerns that the proposal might open the door for the construction of large town houses without delivering low-cost housing, which is the thrust of this debate. I am also slightly concerned that there may be a rush for too many people to do it. We need to ensure that the right controls are in place, including building standards and building controls, and that the processes can be inspected. Clearly some low-rise buildings were only ever designed to be low-rise buildings, even though they may be adjacent to higher buildings.

John Penrose Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare

Just to clarify, nothing in the proposals that I have made today would affect building control or building regulations. Clearly we would need all the usual checks to ensure that buildings will stay up and be safe once they have been constructed.