So it looks as if May 2010 will bring a new Government and with it a new regime looking after planning policy, housing and energy efficiency. Some people might be pinning their hopes on a relaxation of increasingly severe regulations on low-energy construction; others hoping, possibly, that planning laws will be relaxed too.

Well, taking a quick glance at recently-published policy documents and catching the key lines from Tory Housing Spokesman Grant Shapps’ speech in Manchester, I am not expecting huge changes. Most promisingly, he vows to give local villages the change to expand by 10% over 10 years. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? The modest expansion of small communities is something that self-builders have wanted for years, with the view that one or two new plots a year on the edge of a village would be a big boon without impacting on the countryside. Unfortunately, this 10% expansion will require the approval of 90% of village inhabitants. Now I don’t know how often you’ve dealt with local councils, but that seems highly unlikely to me.

 For those of you hoping to avoid having to subscribe to the Code for Sustainable Homes, then I’m afraid it’s bad news. The Tories have committed to continuing its progress into the Building Regulations so it’s time to fish out the bike rack, get those Home User Manuals ready, decorate the Home Office and crack on.

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