News story

New government makes housing design a top priority

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Grant Shapps has called on the country’s architects to ensure their great designs deliver more benefits for the local community.

Speaking at the Housing Design Awards, the Housing Minister said design would be even more important in the new era of community-driven development.

Good design priceless

The expert audience of architects, house builders and planners were told that although great design is inexpensive compared to overall project budgets, it is priceless for the benefits it brings to communities.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:

“My first visit as Minister for Housing was to launch one of today’s winners - Kevin McCloud’s new Triangle development in Swindon. This was no coincidence - I wanted to send a strong signal that in these straightened times, grand design is more important than ever.

“Today in our towns and cities we see communities living out the broken dreams of your predecessors. Places built with the very best of intentions but resulting in the very worst for residents.

“But lessons have been learnt and I know designers across the country share my enthusiasm for change. Together, we will give people the power to make their own decisions for the places where they live.

“Rather than being told what will be built and where, residents of villages, towns and cities will be given powerful financial incentives to develop their own vision for the community. And they will demand great design that meets their needs - something I know you will deliver.”

Community involvement

Mr Shapps praised the overall winner for making respect for the community a key feature of the design.

The blueprint for the 400-home Icon development in Street, Somerset evolved through community workshops.

Mr Shapps said he was particularly impressed at the involvement of local people in the design of the new development, which he highlighted as a model for the way the new government sees good design and community involvement working in the future.