Quality design key to boosting support for new rural homes

Quality sustainable designs, produced in consultation with the local community, are crucial to help building support for new affordable rural housing developments.
This is the message expressed by rural housing specialists, Hastoe Group, ahead of a Parliamentary debate on ‘Delivering quality in the built environment’.

Taking place on Wednesday, the debate will be led by Jo Churchill MP – Chair of the Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment. The debate is expected to focus on the Government’s recent proposals to improve the design quality of new homes – including a powerful new Housing Ombudsman and a new £25 million fund to improve the design quality of new housing developments.

Hastoe, which owns or manages over 7,500 homes across the south of rural England, argues that a community-led approach to the design of new homes is key to ensuring consistency of quality and support for new affordable rural homes.

Hastoe Chief Executive Sue Chalkley said: “At a time when we need to be building 300,000 new homes a year, it is crucial that we boost local support for new rural developments by working hand-in-hand with local communities to produce quality designs which work for them. Both the new Design Quality Fund and also the recently re-launched Community Housing Fund will go a long way in helping to deliver the high-quality, well-designed homes our rural communities want and need.

“The development process should leave communities with a great sense of pride. This comes from being engaged in the selection of the site and the design, and from knowing that the homes will bring long term benefits to the community. This is why we welcome proposals for a new Homes Ombudsman, so there is a strong, single point of redress for those experiencing any problems with their new homes. Ultimately standards will improve across the sector and any poor performers will be visible, leaving buyers able to make informed choices.

“At Hastoe we believe that social housing providers can and should lead the way in building new homes that look beautiful in their local setting and are low cost to run. This is why we hold design quality at the heart of our new developments and all our new homes are built to at least the AECB Silver standard of energy efficiency. This focus on quality and sustainability means that the new homes provided in rural communities will last for generations and also help to deliver tangible benefits to residents and to the environment.

“I look forward to the debate and hearing the Housing Minister’s response on how the Government will be acting to deliver better new-build quality.”

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