Whilst the arguments continue on where to build new homes, the Government has unveiled the Building for Life 12 voluntary standard. The goal is to help local communities and potential buyers understand what makes a well-designed development. It is also intended to give developers guidance on good design principals and a way for their developments to be rated against these principles.
The following principles form the basis of the guidelines:
- How well homes integrate into the neighbourhood
- How well they create a place
- How well the development creates a street and a home
The guidelines make recommendations for developers to consider the following areas:
How Well Homes Integrate into the Neighbourhood
- Facilities and services
- Public transport
- Meeting local housing requirements
- Working with the site and its context
- Creating well defined streets and spaces
- Easy to find your way around
- Streets for all
- Car Parking
- Public and private spaces
- External storage and amenity space
A simple traffic light system is used to rate how well a development conforms to the guidelines, a red light gives warning that an aspect of the development needs to be reconsidered, amber highlights an area that may need to be improved.
A development that receives 12 "greens", which are independently verified, will be awarded Built for Life accreditation which, it is intended, will act as a quality mark for homebuyers.
But do these guidelines go far enough to convince local communities that developers are going to take their requirements into account when proposing a new development?
For a start this is a voluntary code a developer can choose not to follow them, or to only follow them when it is easy or convenient.
The real test will be do local communities see value in the scheme? Will it help them to influence developers to take into account the wider impact of a development? Or will we continue to see opposition from local communities campaigning against housing developments, whether they are proposed for green field or brown field sites?
About The Property Centre
The Property Centre was launched in 1997 with its 1st office in Tuffley. It has grown to encompass seven offices in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire; accounts for nearly a third of all sold properties in Gloucester*, and offers a residential lettings service. In July 2012 The Property Centre won their categories for Best Real Estate Agency Gloucestershire 2012 – 2013 and Best Real Estate Agency Worcestershire 2012 – 2013.