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Campaigners blast ‘poor’ design of new homes

The design of new housing developments in England is overwhelmingly ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’, according to campaigners.

A new report by the countryside charity CPRE and the Place Alliance has claimed less affluent communities are 10 times more likely to get worse design, even though better design is affordable.

The report examined 140 housing developments built across England since 2007 and found that one in five of these developments should have been refused planning permission outright as their poor design was contrary to advice given in the National Planning Policy Framework.

A further 54% should not have been granted permission without significant improvements to their design having been made first.

The audit also found that the worst reported aspects of design include developments dominated by access roads and the poor integration of storage, bins and car parking, leading to ‘unattractive and unfriendly environments’.

It also claims builders need to show greater ambition and take a more ethical approach to housing design

The report also calls on local authorities also need to end the current disconnect between highways design and planning when it comes to new developments.

‘The government has presided over a decade of disastrous housing design and must raise standards immediately,’ said CPRE campaigns and policy director, Tom Fyans.

‘This research is utterly damning of larger housebuilders and their failure to build the homes our communities deserve. They must significantly raise their game if we are to create the sorts of places that future generations will feel proud to call home. It’s no wonder so many of our communities feel apprehensive towards new development when the design is so poor.

‘That’s why significantly improving the quality of design is central to addressing the housing shortage,’ added Mr Fyans.

Responding to the report, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, Cllr David Renard said: ‘High-quality homes for affordable and social rent are desperately needed across the country now, and councils need to be able to resume their role as major builders of affordable homes. The last time this country built homes at the scale that we need now was in the 1970s when councils built more than 40% of them.

‘Councils were trusted to get on and build homes that their communities needed, and they delivered, and they can do so again.’

The full report – A Housing Design Audit for England – can be read here.

Photo Credit – 3844328 (Pixabay)

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