Veteran property developer Stuart Lipton has said that Theresa May’s government needs to put quality design back into housebuilding
Lipton – former CABE chair and partner at Lipton Rogers Developments LLP – was speaking at an event in central London organised by the Policy Exchange think tank discussing the future of housing under the new government.
With his partner Peter Rogers, Lipton is currently developing 22 Bishopsgate building, designed by the PLP Architecture. The £1 billion 62-storey tower, which is currently on site, will be the tallest in the City of London.
He argued that architectural quality needs to return to housing design and that ‘every piece of housing legislation since 1947 has essentially failed’.
Lipton said: ’Let’s put quality back into the ordinary. In the past 10 years no one’s talked about the “A” word – no architecture at all.’
New prime minister Theresa May has already promised ‘more housebuilding’ under her leadership, however she did not go into detailed numbers or how this would be achieved.
Lipton previously developed the Broadgate Centre, a banking hub in the City of London, which opened in 1985. He was chair at CABE from 1999 to 2004.
Demetri Porphyrios, principal of Porphyrios Associates, also spoke about the design of urban spaces. He said: ’Cities must be human, otherwise they are unlivable […] Civility in architecture and cities is similar to civility in human relations.’
He added: ’We are in a very good position in Great Britain to talk about a new model for housing and a new model for urbanisation.’
Also present at the talk was Alex Morton, former special advisor to the prime minister on housing and planning. Morton too admitted that the ’the quality of design in this country is not good enough’ and said there is far too much ‘micromanaging’ in the planning system.
In addition, Lipton argued that the current system did not allow architects to design housing effectively. He said: ’There are damn good architects in this country, letting them exercise their skill is not in the planning system.’
Lipton also urged that we need to ’build communities not just housing’, with libraries, village greens and communal areas. ‘Let’s go back to some civic values,’ he said.
He insisted that ’If we had a surplus supply, we’d have quality with it’ and that good design would not necessarily cost more.
Last week a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment called for a new homes ombudsman to help drive up housebuilding quality and customer services (see AJ 19.07.16). The group warned that new housing was failing to meet the quality demanded by consumers and urged housebuilders ’to put consumers at the heart of what they do’.