Greater com­pe­ti­tion means bet­ter de­sign

De­signer Wayne Hem­ing­way, a speaker at the re­cent Char­tered In­sti­tute of Hous­ing con­fer­ence in Har­ro­gate, re­veals what he would do if he were hous­ing min­is­ter.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

“The first thing I’d do is cre­ate a sys­tem that en­cour­ages good de­sign and that will only hap­pen when there’s true com­pe­ti­tion in the prop­erty mar­ket.

“Busi­nesses will only try good de­sign when they want to outdo their com­peti­tors.

“At the moment, there aren’t enough houses be­ing built and so more land needs to be re­leased for devel­op­ment. I’d find that through green­belt land that isn’t green, so the bot­tom 10 per cent of qual­ity.

“I’d also re­lease more pub­lic land owned by the NHS or the Forces, but I would rad­i­cally change the present sys­tem for this kind of land, which is a com­bi­na­tion of high­est bid­der and best de­sign.

“What has hap­pened in the past is that they’d have a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion and a de­vel­oper would bring in an ar­chi­tect and come up with an amaz­ing project.

“This would win the com­pe­ti­tion, but then the de­vel­oper would wa­ter down the de­sign, back track on their ini­tial prom­ises and end up de­liv­er­ing some­thing be­low stan­dard.

“The only way round is that if only house­builders who have proven they can de­liver qual­ity are al­lowed to bid.

“I also think that if there is a site for 1,000 homes, that should be split be­tween 10 house builders. If three or four launch to­gether on the first phase then there would be an el­e­ment of com­pe­ti­tion that will drive up stan­dards.

“I think car­rots in the form of in­cen­tives work bet­ter than sticks and the carrot would be: if you don’t do it, some­one else will do it bet­ter than you.” “One of the main chal­lenges is to stop coun­cil hous­ing and so­cial hous­ing be­ing dirty words and seen as a last re­sort.

“I’d like to it to be seen as a pos­i­tive choice for young peo­ple. So we have to get rid of the stigma. There is no stigma in many coun­tries in Europe, where there are some good

I’d like us to get back to be­ing a nation of small house­builders with a rep­u­ta­tion to keep up.

ex­am­ples of great places to live. The first thing to get right is the de­sign, which isn’t about money. It’s the small, easy things that make all the dif­fer­ence and the com­mu­nity should have a say on what they want. They could even band to­gether.Get stuck in, make the place feel more friendly, cre­ate some amenity land. Com­mu­ni­ties can do a lot to help them­selves. The prob­lem is they sit and wait for some­one to sort things out for them. “I’d like us to get back to be­ing a nation of small house­builders, who know the area they are build­ing in and who have a rep­u­ta­tion to keep up.

“I’d also like to see more self­builders. On ev­ery medium to large site in the coun­try I’d like to see 20 per cent of the land given over for some in­no­va­tive self-build.”

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