A report from the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission has recommended new plans to incentivise better-designed projects.
Image: The Pocket House project by Tikari Works made use of under utilised space including garages to find room for a beautiful new home. It was shortlisted for RIBA's House of the Year 2019. Photography by Edmund Sumner
A new report by the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission has outlined some key advice for the government, which could help more beautiful homes than ever be built here in the UK. The Living with Beauty report is a 180 page document examining the relationship between architects and the public with housebuilding architecture, with recommendations on how better designed housing could be prioritised across the country.
One of the cornerstone policies of the report from the commission, which was set up as an independent body designed to advise the government on how to promote high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods, is the idea of a 'fast track' for homes which qualify as 'beautiful'.
The report reads: "Our aim is not to abolish the network of planning constraints, but to provide a fast track for beauty that will keep all the precious safeguards in place." So how could this work and how do we define beauty?
The commission is investing its stock in a more democratic design, where residents have a role to play in the development of their local area. Systems, such as the Enquiry by Design process involving charrettes and the Australian model of planning juries made from people chosen from the electoral roll, are both noted in the report.
Where a developer of a larger housing project has demonstrated a commitment to improving the local area through a considered design, then a fast-track through planning permission is a reward for the initial outlay on expense and time involved in these processes.
While this doesn't have huge applications to self-builders and smaller projects, there's plenty in the report that does. The report looks at how to create a level playing field when it comes to understanding Local Plans and potential self-build plots. This should help allow more access for self-builders and small firms to act as developers.
You can read the results of the report in full on the GOV.UK website.
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