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HCA admits half of Kickstart projects are 'poorly designed'

Almost half of the schemes chosen to receive funding from a government scheme to maintain the housing supply were previously rated as ‘poorly designed’

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) report revealed that 67 of 136 schemes that received funding for the first round of the Government’s £1.6 billion Kickstart programme were ranked as ‘poor’ for design, according to CABE’s Building for Life design criteria.

Only 11 schemes were graded ‘very good’ in CABE’s assessment, according to the report.

The HCA said that, while it was pleased with developers’ uptake of green building standard the Code for Sustainable Homes within the first round of Kickstart schemes, the design quality of the projects was ‘much less strong’.

But the HCA said that schemes were chosen for funding from the first round of Kickstart in order to maintain housing supply and help mitigate the impact of the recession, rather than for design reasons. As a result, many of those picked were well advanced towards detailed planning permission, it said.

Last week, the quango announced that 265 schemes bidding for investment of nearly £550 million were on the shortlist to receive funding from the second round of Kickstart.

A spokesman said: ‘Our commitment to design is a significant part of our wider role and we will be consulting on a new set of standards in the new year.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • CABE is a waste of taxpayer money -- what do we need them for when we supposedly have the almighty RIBA, not to mention countless local authority and quango-based design review panels? We are always up for a constructive debate about good design, but CABE doesn't engage in any debate, they just render a decision based on a 10-minute peek at a project, without understanding any of the issues or constraints, and then run off like a bunch of cowards, not allowing any two-way dialogue. Their 'summary execution' style, with no accountability to anyone except their own cronies, is unconscionable. As far as I can tell, they are mainly just a bunch of clueless, elitist, armchair practitioners -- go out and practice in the real world! I hope the new government axes this useless quango within the first few weeks. We didn't need them before, and in this economic climate, we certainly don't need to spend the money on something that provides little or no added value.

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