The housebuilders’ organisation the Home Builders Federation has denied that the industry builds “identikit Legoland” housing.
Housing minister Grant Shapps yesterday criticised new home designs, calling on the industry to build developments that reflect the identity of the local area.
He has written to the Design Council (which merged with CABE last month) asking it to help developers and local communities ensure local homes fit local areas.
“We all recognise the bog standard, identikit Legoland homes that typify some new developments,” said Shapps. “Whilst we are seeing good examples emerging, too often new developments are dominated by the same, identikit designs that bear no resemblance to the character of the local area.”
However, HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said in Housebuilder: “Developers already build a range of house types and designs, homes that overwhelmingly surveys show customers are happy with. Housebuilders stand ready to work with local communities to deliver the homes they need and want .”
He said a more pressing concern for ministers ought to be the lack of homes being built, a situation which more stringent planning is not going to help.
According to the Federation, across Britain just 33,000 homes were approved for construction in the last three months of 2010 – 9% down on the previous quarter and 22% down on a year ago. Social housing was hardest hit with only 5,500 approvals – a new low.
The number of new homes completed in England in 2010 fell 13% on the previous year – itself the lowest peacetime number since 1923.