Design quango wants standard, based on Building for Life, to be included in planning regulation

Cabe is to make an audacious attempt to have tough housing design standards embedded into the planning system to ensure a minimum quality for all new homes.

Next Monday, the design watchdog will set out a plan to replace the housing standards being proposed by the London mayor and the Homes and Communities Agency with a single, much simpler standard based on the Building for Life scheme.

Simmons: planning permission can be used to improve housing stock

Simmons: planning permission can be used to improve housing stock

Building for Life asks 20 simple questions covering issues from environmental sustainability to parking and the public realm.

Cabe will say that in order to improve housing design, the minimum standard, which will include Building for Life and a number of other criteria, should be included in central and local planning guidance, covering private and social housing. If the homes do not meet the standard, they should not receive planning permission.

The case is to be made in a lengthy essay by Richard Simmons, Cabe’s chief executive, based on a series of in-depth seminars with all sectors of the housing industry. The essay, entitled Simpler and Better: Housing Design in Everyone’s Interest, will reject the assertion by some housebuilders that continued home sales and increasing customer satisfaction levels is evidence standards are high enough.

Simmons will also take a swipe at the HCA regarding this year’s controversy over the funding of homes under the Kickstart programme that failed Building for Life assessments. He says the projects “should not even have received planning permission, never mind public money”.

The intervention comes before the HCA’s consultation over its proposed new design standards which Cabe thinks should be simplified, closes.

The Home Builders Federation said: “There would be a clear bonus for housebuilders in sweeping away numerous regulations to get just one standard, but we have to have one that is fit for purpose, and Building for Life was never created for this purpose.”