Aesthetics Must Be Central To Home Design, Says Gove

Housing secretary Michael Gove has said that aesthetic qualities need to be a major feature of new homes going forward – and has threatened to use ministerial powers to block unattractive developments.

Addressing the Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Conference on Growth, Mr Gove said many firms were guilty of “using a restrictive pattern book with poor-quality materials,” adding: “The aesthetic quality of what they produce is both disappointing and also not in keeping with the high aesthetic standards that may already exist”.

He argued it is essential to make new housing more attractive as doing so will mean those already living near areas earmarked for development will be more likely to accept it, leading to fewer objections and enquiries. He said this was crucial if government targets of building 300,000 new homes a year were to be met, as “communities do not want ugliness imposed on them”.

Among the ways buildings could be made more attractive could be to use laser profiling on metal features, such as fences and balconies, to create artistic patterns and increase their visual appeal. 

The quality of new housing is also a frequent problem, Mr Gove noted, commenting: “The experience of many first-time buyers is that the incredibly expensive homes they buy simply are not fitted out to the standards they should be – there are far too many faults and defects.” 

Attractiveness may be a positive factor in getting one proposed housing development in Nottingham approved – the Ilke Homes development at the former Alliance Boots campus adjacent to the Beeston Canal, which would initially consist of 207 homes but would eventually extend to 604, depending on planning consent. 

According to Insider Media, the report to be presented to the city council’s planning committee said: “It is considered that the proposals for access, scale and layout are well considered and would result in an attractive environment for future occupants with its own distinct character.”

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