Housing Minister champions British housing design

Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP warned today (June 28) that a lack of creativity could lead to Scandinavian-style “eco-bling” homes dominating neighbourhoods as housebuilders prepare to go zero carbon in 2016.

Shapps was speaking at the opening of the ‘Natural House’, a low-carbon property developed by the Prince’s Foundation at the Building Research Establishment in Watford. The property has been constructed to a traditional design using new low-carbon and low energy technologies.

He reminded the audience that from 2016 all new homes must be built to a zero carbon standard. But he also argued that the “Natural House” demonstrates that British design will still have a place on our streets.

“We all know the Scandinavian-style homes that feature on property programmes – wearing their green credentials for all to see. These are popular and display a high quality of design and craftsmanship. But a lack of creativity could mean this eco-bling dominates our neighbourhoods in as little as five years – I am clear that the beginning of zero carbon does not need to mean the end of Great British design.”

“That’s why between now and 2016 when all new homes must be zero carbon, I want developers and designers to go back to their drawing boards and see how they can ‘green up’ our traditional, British properties. People want to buy homes, not causes and just because a home is greener does not mean it can’t reflect the character of the local area.

“With the Natural House in Watford, the Prince’s Foundation has proved that Great British design doesn’t need to be sacrificed to make our homes zero carbon. ”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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