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Government urged to adopt Building for Life critieria

CABE is urging the government to 'embed' the 20 Building for Life criteria within the planning system to stop new housing developments becoming the 'slums of tomorrow'.

The appeal came as the commission unveiled the winners of its national Building for Life competition, which champions schemes that meet the national design-quality standards.

At the same time, the design watchdog also warned that 'the change in housing quality needs to accelerate dramatically if the government is to be sure of meeting its 2020 target for new homes'.

Speaking shortly before the awards Wayne Hemingway, chair of Building for Life, said: 'We have got to stop building the slums of tomorrow.

'Making Building for Life a benchmark standard in the planning process will mean that over seven million people will live in homes and neighbourhoods which they can be proud of.'

English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation have already adopted the 20 'quality conditions' needed to meet the Building for Life standard and will refuse to approve any project which falls short.

These 20 criteria measure the quality of a development's design and construction; its roads, parking and pedestrianisation; its environment and community; and its character.

However not all local authorities have taken on the 'standard' vetting procedure - something which CABE hopes to change.

The three 'gold' award winners are:

  • Stride Treglown's Great Bow Yard, in Langport - a 12-home development on an old oil depot for Somerset Eco Homes;

  • Rolfe Judd Architects' Empire Square (pictured top), in Southwark, south London - a three-building, mixed-use scheme with 'sculpted' pavilion for Berkley Homes;
  • and

  • The Lapworth Partnership's The Russells, Broadway, Worcestershire - a Cotswold-styled housing development on the site of a former Arts and Crafts furniture factory.
  • by Richard Waite

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