The last few years have been dominated by an obsession with numbers emanating from NPPF Paragraph 73. However there has been little debate on housing design quality, little consensus on what ‘good’ looks like and insufficient resources within most Planning Departments to have that debate on live planning applications while robustly demanding more of proposals that fall short.
Whilst the causes of the failings on design quality are complex and also include out of control land prices, excessive speculation and false assumptions around build cost, we all know that collectively we can do better and when we do better it puts a spring in all our steps! The past tells us that when we build really well, these places become assets to residents and to the wider communities for generations promoting social interaction, a shared sense of identity and better health and wellbeing.
We know that competition helps and the UK housing market has become too dominated by a small number of very big players making it very difficult for SME’s to enter the market who may have a broader agenda or a more design led ethos. However any changes in design guidance and legislation need to be clear and evenly implemented to reduce the commercial advantage of cutting corners making a more level playing field for all.
Hopefully this Report will lead to wider calls and indeed empowerment for everyone to raise their game and for the whole land, development, design and construction industry to use the talents we undoubtedly have to provide homes which will affordable, robust, popular, characterful and uplifting places for people to live in. We all deserve no less.
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Image Credit to Place Alliance Research