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Gough sounds warning about high-density urban vision

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Piers Gough last week warned that the vision of high-density housing proposed for UK cities by the Urban Task Force is a long way from the low-cost, low-rise option which will probably be adopted by developers.

Speaking at 'Joined Up Housing', the Architects in Housing conference sponsored by the AJ, Gough called on architects to produce more innovative designs for terraced housing and for designers to challenge planning expectations and building regulations restrictions.

He said that the ideal terraced house 'cited by Lord Rogers [in the taskforce report] is the Georgian four- or five-storey model, rather than the two-up two-down of common perception', and added that architects need to 'wrestle'with the best design solutions rather than accept terraces as a formulaic response to housing need. Gough's preference was for a compromise three-storey terrace, even though he thought it one of the most difficult architectural models to resolve.

Richard Lavington of Maccreanor Lavington said that 'three-storey terraced housing in Holland is so efficient economically that it is very difficult to deviate from it, even when it makes sense to do so architecturally'.

Despite the fact that the government is calling for the higher housing densities which can be provided by terracing, housing minister Nick Raynsford appeared to condemn terraces as 'bleak places'. He advocated better design to aid regeneration.

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