The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has successfully lobbied to secure an amendment to the Housing and Regeneration Bill, after the House of Lords final vote on the issue this afternoon.
The Bill will create the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which will assume the existing duties of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships in order to deliver the Government's housing and regeneration policies. Following the RIBA's lobbying campaign, the new organisation will have a statutory duty to contribute to design quality in new housing.
Following a concentrated campaign in the House of Lords, the RIBA worked with a number of peers with a breadth of expertise who could speak with authority on the Institute's proposals before and during the passage of the Bill. Lord Howarth, former architecture Minister has led on the campaign to encourage the Government to take design quality of new homes seriously.
Anna Scott-Marshall, Head of Public Affairs at the RIBA said:
"We are delighted that the Government has responded to our calls for an explicit duty for the Homes and Communities Agency to improve design quality. At a time when economic pressures on housebuilders could lead to design and quality being squeezed by more immediate pressures this duty should ensure that this does not happen.
"The increased emphasis on design quality will have a significant impact upon the new affordable housing built in England. This means much more than aesthetics. High quality design successfully adds value to homes and can achieve higher values for development sites, providing greater occupier satisfaction, and improved public spaces overall. Well-designed, sustainable housing will last longer, be more flexible in use, cost less to heat, light and maintain, increase safety and security and grow old gracefully."