UK houses due a design makeover, say Tories

Suburban Britain is due a design makeover because taxpayers are fed up with living in “little boxes” for houses where they typically feel cut off in cul-de-sacs that are “dull and soulless.”

Such is the message from David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, who says a Tory government would empower architects with imagination at the expense of standard dwellings.

The proposed facelift, revealed in a Tory paper - Renewing Suburbia: Creating Suburban Villages – goes onto claim that Brits are depressed by the uniform appearance of their suburban estates.

Obtained by The Independent, the paper says a Tory government would tear down the network of “little boxes,” to usher in housing developments that offer a mix of building types.

Architects would be commissioned to design housing estates to offer a place where people can live and work, rather than the current network of bland, macabre houses that all look the same.

“Uniformity in design is all too familiar,” wrote Marks Prisk MP, the Conservative minister for small business, who is also a former freelance property expert.

“Many suburban estates are dull and soulless with no sense of community and are not sustainable, due to reliance on cars.”

The paper reportedly argues that current planning rules should change, “to enable run-down suburban housing estates to be transformed into living, working urban villages.”

Best practice design, according to the Tories, is evident in the village of Poundbury and in the new Docklands development of West Silvertown.

According to the party, both locations are evidence that the government has failed “to learn from these projects.”

Responding to the proposal, experts at Rick Mather Architects warned about the dangers of extending suburbia and said villages like Poundbury would not solve the UK’s housing problems.


15th August 2006

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