Healthy Homes Pledge – a sector-wide commitment to create new homes and communities where people can thrive  

Campaign manager, Rosalie Callway, and assistant, Clémence Dye, explain why the housing and wider development sector needs to sign up to this ethical commitment to create a new generation of healthy homes for all. 

Earlier this year, members of the Healthy Homes coalition met online to discuss the next phase of the campaign. In the aftermath of the Healthy Homes amendment being dropped from the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA), and the government continuing to further extend harmful Permitted Development Rights, it was agreed we need a shift in direction.  

Whilst we may have hit something of a brick wall with the current government, the findings from numerous cross-party select committee and parliamentary inquiries – informed by a huge body of evidence – continue to highlight the urgent need to improve the quality of new homes that are being built or converted to residential use around the country.  

A window of opportunity

The 4th of July General Election creates a new window of opportunity for change. Both health and housing are in the top ten issues that UK voters want a new government to address, according to a recent YouGov poll. Now is a key time to make it clear to politicians that, along with voters, professionals from across the built environment sector want to act, to drive real improvements in housing quality, ahead of legislative reform.  

The coalition members proposed adopting a similar ethical approach to the medical profession’s Hippocratic oath for the built environment sector – calling on professionals to make personal and corporate commitments to ‘do no harm’ in new housing projects. And to take this ethical approach further, by committing to actively engage in housing and urban development projects that will positively promote human health. 

The Healthy Homes Pledge recognises everyone has a right to a healthy, affordable and secure home in a healthy environment. 

So, the Healthy Homes Pledge has been formulated as an ethical statement of intent, to both seek to prevent housing that causes harm and ensure future housing projects will positively promote the health and wellbeing of all residents.

The Healthy Homes Principles

As with the Healthy Homes Bill, the Pledge is centred around meeting the 12 Healthy Homes Principles – to ensure that all new homes are genuinely affordable and set the health of their inhabitants at heart, above minimum requirements.  

By signing up to the Healthy Homes Pledge, organisations and professionals commit to go beyond minimum legislative protections and adopt positive leadership in the creation of good quality homes and communities. The Principles are intentionally written as high-level strategic ambitions to allow signatories to identify the best means to adopt and apply them within their work. The Pledge also seeks to address the legislative loopholes created by Permitted Development Rights, by putting moral pressure on actors not to engage in sub-standard development projects.   

A growing movement

The Healthy Homes Pledge was launched in May with Wates, as one of the early industry adopters, at the Chartered Institute for Housing conference in Brighton. The entire Wates group has adopted the Principles, to apply them in future housing projects.

Speaking at the event, Helen Bunch, Managing Director of Wates Residential said: The Healthy Homes Principles align really well with Wates’ own values and so I am incredibly proud that we have become the first major development partner to make this pledge. Homes must be places where people can thrive, and we have long been committed to ensuring the wellbeing of the communities and residents we work with. Signing the Healthy Homes Pledge underscores that commitment and I hope that other companies across the industry will follow our lead to ensure that all homes are healthy homes’.  

Signing the Healthy Homes Pledge underscores our commitment and I hope that other companies across the industry will follow our lead to ensure that all homes are healthy homes.

Helen Bunch, Managing Director, Wates Residential

Since the launch, a growing number of organisations and individuals have signed up to the Pledge, including developers, architects, housing associations, local authorities, as well as consultancies (see below). You can join these progressive built environment professionals by supporting the Healthy Homes Pledge.

Join the growing movement of organisations and individuals who are pledging their support by signing up to our Healthy Homes Pledge today!

 

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