Unreleased report by watchdog says most publicly subsidised housing is no better designed than private housing

According to sources, the report, by Cabe for the Homes and Communities Agency, has found that just 18% of new social homes meet a good or very good design standard. This means that the design of four-fifths of homes is average, poor or very poor.

The findings echo those of a study of private housing conducted by Cabe between 2001 and 2007, which found that exactly the same number were average, poor or very poor. This is despite the fact that the Housing Corporation, the HCA forerunner which spent £3.3bn over the past two years on new social homes, has detailed design standards for all new developments.

Richard Simmons
Simmons: "We expect to publish it in due course"

Sources close to the latest report say it was originally set to be released at the end of 2008, but was delayed because the findings were politically inconvenient. The government denied this was the case.

The findings echo a study of private housing that found that exactly the same number were poor

The former chief executive of the Housing Corporation, Steve Douglas, commissioned the study in 2007 to audit new homes built through the partnership route in the previous three years. The study follows a report into the quality of social housing in the Thames Gateway, which found that aspirations of good design were hampered by the reliance on section 106 agreements to deliver new affordable homes.

Asked about the report, Richard Simmons, Cabe’s chief executive, said the audit had been delayed by the setting up of the Homes and Communities Agency. He said: “There has been a modest delay in publication. We expect to publish it in due course.”

The HCA said: “The survey is complete, but we are working to finalise the report, which will be published in the near future.”