Housing Corporation adviser Tim Williams attacks supply and design quality of new homes

The chairman of a group set up to improve the quality of housing across the Thames Gateway launched a withering attack on the housebuilding industry this week.

Tim Williams, who chairs the Housing Corporation’s Thames Gateway commission, said: ‘The stuff we are building is poor and there’s not enough of it.”

Speaking at an event to launch Swan Housing Group’s private sale arm, Williams said private sector housing completion rates had remained static for much of the past half century. He said: “We have a private sector that does not appear to be interested in building housing.”

He added that the private sector’s build-out rate was too low to meet the Barker review’s target of 200,000 homes a year.

We have a private sector that does not appear to be interested in building

Tim Williams, Thames Gateway Commission

He said the commission’s findings, which are due to be published next month, would recommend a combination of tough action and incentives to raise the quality of new housing. “We need to get tougher with deliverers,” he said.

He added that the report would recommend that schemes financed with a mix of social housing grant and section 106 contributions should be subject to the corporation’s stringent design and quality standards.

Responding to Williams, Alan Cherry, Countryside Properties’ chairman, said: “He is not sufficiently informed. He may be justified with regard to a part of the industry, but this is not the way to encourage the industry to do better. He needs to get out of his office and come and have a look around.”