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25/04/2018

Government to invest in modern approaches to housing design

Words: Laura Edgar
Investment in modern design methods / iStock-604358302

At a conference in London, government ministers have called on the housing industry to deliver well-designed homes, saying the government will invest in modern approaches to design and construction.

The investment is part of the government’s plans to “fix the broken housing market” and deliver 300,000 homes a year in England by the mid-2020s. It is “essential” therefore, said the government, to address the quality and design of new homes.

Ministers said this could help secure community support for new homes, ensuring that there are good-quality homes that “people can feel proud living in and next door to”.

To support its call, the government said it is investing £1 billion through the Home Building Fund to develop new, modern approaches to design and construction. So far, eight projects across 11 local authorities have been backed by government funding, and will use modern methods of construction, such as modular homes, to build good-quality homes and speed up the rate of delivery.

There are also plans to learn from other countries, including Australia, Norway and Sweden, “where good design is embedded in decision-making”, said the government.

Based on a model in Australia, the government is urging councils to set their own design quality standards so that communities can better reflect their character in local planning policy.

Additionally, the government wants to embrace new technologies, including virtual reality technology to “win the confidence” of communities before building begins. Communities will be able to see what a development might look like and before permission has been granted.

The moves come as local authority planners, developers and design professionals attended the government’s Design Quality Conference today (25 April). It aims to build on previous government action to ensure that new homes are built using quality materials and design methods, which feature in the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), currently out for consultation. 

As well as ministers, the conference includes speakers from The Princes Foundation, Historic England and Homes England.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our homes are the making of all of us, which is why today’s event on raising the bar on the quality of new homes is so important.

“This government is determined to make sure that high-quality design is the norm rather than the exception.”

Image credit | iStock

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