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Planners to report on housing design quality

Local authorities across England must now use the Building for Life criteria to assess housing design quality, under new government guidelines.

It will be the first time that planners will be required to report each year on the design quality of the new housing built in their boroughs.

Local authorities will have to report on key indicators in their Annual Monitoring Reports, and the performance of each housing scheme will be assessed against the 20 Building for Life criteria, which are promoted by CABE and the Home Builders Federation.

CABE first called for the guidelines following its second housing audit in 2005, which revealed that 82 per cent of new homes were not up to scratch.

CABE director of campaigns Matt Bell said: 'By making councils report against this indicator, there will, in effect, be a rolling housing audit.

'And the publication of performance against this measure will provide a powerful incentive for planners to understand the Building for Life criteria and the design principles that underpin them.

'It sends a very clear message to planners that quality is as important as speed and volume.’

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