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Brokenshire: ‘We need to design houses that feel like home’

James brokenshire
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Housing secretary James Brokenshire has signalled the government’s desire to promote better housing design in his first major speech in the role

Brokenshire, who took over from Sajid Javid in April, was speaking as he launched a range of housing initiatives, including the allocation of £163 million to promote good design through community housebuilding schemes.

The minister said that housebuilding was not just about meeting abstract targets for the sake of it.

He said: ‘Our guiding light in everything we do must be people – whether they are renting or buying – we must give them the security and dignity they need to build a better life. And places that feel like home.

‘But sadly, when it comes to delivering homes, these things are often the last consideration when they should be the first.

‘We need to change this and remind people that when they’re building homes, they’re also building communities.’

The £163 million Community Housing Fund will be delivered by Homes England and be available until 2021 through a bidding process.

The fund’s prospectus reads: ‘In particular, through this fund, we are keen to see proposals that show a commitment to good design, use of innovative housing construction products such as modern methods of construction (MMC), and make use of innovative funding mechanisms.’

Proposals that take an innovative approach to design, construction technologies, tenures and approaches to financing ‘may be more likely to receive a favourable assessment than those that are not’, the document says.

Design and style matter – good design needs to create a strong sense of belonging

The funds will be available to councils and housing associations as well as limited companies, community interest companies and social enterprises.

Brokenshire said: ‘Design and style matter, and while we in government certainly won’t be dictating to local areas what good design looks like, it needs to create a strong sense of belonging.

‘A sense of identity. A sense of home and comfort. Somewhere people can identify as their place.’

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