Stephen Proctor, director at Proctor & Matthews
Architects have called for design funding from the government to avoid a wave of poor-quality residential projects on the back of plans to boost Britain’s ailing house building industry.
Ministers published a strategy this week aimed at ramping up house building. But concerns have been raised that, unless funding is made available, design quality could be lost, as happened in the Labour government’s Kickstart scheme.
As part of the plans, the government has agreed to hold a summit with the Design Council, involving the RIBA and RTPI, to discuss how design services can be offered to the public.
Rebecca Roberts-Hughes, policy manager at the RIBA, said: “The focus of the summit will be how design professionals can provide support to people at the community and neighbourhood level. We’ll be looking to develop some different models of funding.”
Housing architect Stephen Proctor, director at Proctor & Matthews, said he would welcome part of the money allocated to housing being channelled to organisations which can help meet these aims.
“We have noticed certain house builders moving back to the idea of formulaic house types, which is a retrograde step,” he said. “It’s a numbers game and it is encouraging to see the government are putting money into housing. But we have to ensure these houses are well designed.”
Proctor’s views were echoed by others in the sector, who welcomed the government’s positive approach to design but questioned how it would be paid for.
Andy von Bradsky, chairman at PRP Architects, said: “I’m concerned that these aspirations won’t be met unless funding is available. Unless the government is expecting designers to contribute their resources for no cost, which would be outrageous.”
Rachel Fisher, head of policy at the Design Council, added that she was pleased with the government’s focus on design but confirmed that no more government funding had been announced.
“This is about how do we build houses that work for people and how do people have access to the skills and expertise and professionals,” she said. “Where does the money come from?”
14 December 2011
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25 November 2011
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