Deputy PM John Prescott raved about the new gold standards for housing design last week, after three architects picked up gongs in the Building Life Standard awards.
'I was looking for the fiwow factorfl and I found it, ' Prescottsaid of the winners of the awards, which aim to help people identify well-designed housing. He singled out Port Sunlight on the Wirral as housing that put people first.
However, Prescott warned that the number of good schemes were outnumbered by below-average designs.
Proctor Matthews Architects' £8.5 million project for 80 homes in Harlow was one scheme to win a gold standard. The co-sponsors of the awards - CABE, Civic Trust and the House Builders Federation - also gave gold standards to two schemes in Kent.
Tibbalds TM2 is working on a seven-year project for 950 homes, shops and a school in Greenhithe; while Clague Architects is immersed in a housing scheme on a 260ha former US airbase site in West Malling.
'The government's Sustainable Communities plan calls for one million new homes in the South East by 2016, ' said Prescott.
'The launch of this standard will help house buyers identify new housing that lives up to our vision of good place-making, high design principles and creating a sense of community.'
Prescott added that good housing went beyond bricks and mortar and involved affordability and access to local transport, creating jobs and protecting the countryside.
Building for Life chairman Wayne Hemingway 'threw down the gauntlet' for all house builders to meet the challenge.
For more information see www. buildingforlife. org