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HCA boss Bob Kerslake puts design at the forefront of the agenda

Design will be central to the new Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), according to the super-quango’s new head Bob Kerslake.

Speaking exclusively to the AJ, Kerslake, former chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said he expects the HCA to become a champion of good design, and that he will work closely with CABE to ensure this.

Kerslake said: ‘Design will be very important to the HCA. How it is reflected in the Housing and Regeneration Bill is for the House of Lords to decide, but we will be utilising the design review process.

‘I have seen the power of good design in my previous role [at Sheffield].

‘It’s particularly important in terms of the housing agenda. There is clearly an imbalance between supply and demand, but there has to be the right quality of housing in quality places. It’s not just about houses at any price.’

Kerslake was also keen to place the HCA at the forefront of the debate on sustainability, particularly when it comes to the implementation of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

He said: ‘We have to be an active contributor to the practical implications of the Code, especially when it comes to the higher levels – hence the Carbon Challenge schemes [the first of which will see more than 200 ‘carbon-neutral’ homes, designed by HTA Architects, being built at Hanham Hall in Bristol].

‘This will be one of the biggest challenges for the HCA, getting the balance right between growth, sustainability and affordability.’

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