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New French housing pledges could open doors to Brits

British architects stand to benefit from pledges from both French presidential candidates to stimulate house building, says a leading French architect

Paris-born Michel Mossessian, head of London-based Mossessian & Partners, said British firms were likely to have an advantage across the Channel after the election.

Both incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist contender François Hollande have promised to kickstart the country’s ailing housing market if they win on 6 May. Although their plans differ, Mossessian said a new wave of housing would have to be partially funded by the private sector instead of from the public purse.

He said: ‘Housing construction in France has slowed down by 13 per cent in recent months. The current government has reduced aid to new owners in its public debt reduction efforts. The only way forward would be a shift from publicly financed projects to private developers in joint ventures with local authorities.’

He said such a move would ‘naturally favour’ architects used to working with private developers.

‘Hence British practices would have an advantage over those used to public OJEU commissions.’

Architectural strategist Richard Haut, who lives in France, added: ‘British architects can bring a much greater commercial understanding to many projects in France

He added: ‘However I do not think that the French housing market needs “rescuing” - prices are down and it is slow because of a banking and debt crisis. It is financial trouble - not housing trouble.’

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