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Historic housing styles preferred – poll

Residents would rather see traditional housing styles built on streets near them than ‘innovative housing just built’, according to the result of a survey.

Independent research institute Create Streets also found a “sharp” distinction between the preferences of design specialists and those without design experience or training.

In its first such ‘pop-up poll’, the organisation asked its Twitter followers and email newsletter recipients: “Which of these would you most want to see built on an urban street very near to where you or a close friend live?”

There were four choices of building for respondents to choose from: a computer-generated image of a Georgian-inspired terrace; a ‘pastiche’' image of Victorian housing built in 1999; new London vernacular housing that has just been built and ‘innovative housing’ just built.*

The Victorian housing received 47 per cent of the vote, with the Georgian-inspired terrace getting the thumbs-up from 40 per cent of the poll’s 283 respondents.

The new London vernacular was supported by just 7 per cent of respondents, with an even smaller 6 per cent favouring the innovative housing.

Respondents were also asked whether they lived in an urban, suburban or rural area, and what their profession was. Some 37 per cent were either architects, planners or in creative arts. Urban dwellers counted for 66 per cent of those asked, 27 per cent lived in suburban areas and 6 per cent in rural areas.

The results of the poll, said Create Streets, suggested that there is a “sharp and important” distinction between what non-design specialists and design specialists want. This conclusion was based on the fact that the two most popular choices each received just 25 per cent of the vote from the planning, architecture and creative arts specialists. By contrast, the poll found 46 per cent of the respondents supporting the two least-preferred options - the London vernacular and innovative housing - were from this group.

Overall, Create Streets noted, "87 per cent of our respondents preferred the two options which most clearly referenced historic housing forms and which had a very strong sense of place".

The poll comes ahead of a pilot Direct Planning Bill being introduced into the House of Lords this week by Conservative peer and Official Historian to the Conservative Party, Lord Lexton.

The bill, Create Streets said in a press release, is an attempt to give communities more “workable influence on the quality of what is built” and to change the question from “how do we build more homes to how do we make new homes more popular?”.

* Images of the options can be viewed on the poll results paper, which can be found on the Create Streets website at http://www.createstreets.com/