Housebuilder Persimmon has defended itself against CABE’s criticism of its designs for part of a government housing market renewal area.

The design watchdog had attacked the 1000-home project in the Birmingham–Sandwell pathfinder for failing to set sufficiently high standards. Persimmon said the designs had been approved by Sandwell council.

Daniel Le Neveu, Persimmon land director, said: “The masterplan that forms part of the outline planning application has been produced in accordance with Sandwell council’s design brief, which also went through public consultation. CABE’s comments relate on the whole to specific detailed issues that will be dealt with at the reserved matters stage of the planning process.”

The CABE design panel said of the Cape Hill Brewery scheme: “Unfortunately in this case we do not believe that the project meets the aspirations of the housing market renewal policy. We think that the project fails both as Urban Design and architecture.”

CABE has sent out a message. We were first in the firing line

Source at Urban Living

Insiders at Urban Living, the housing market renewal body, believe the scheme has received unusual attention because it is the first residential development in a pathfinder area to be reviewed by CABE. Sources claim that CABE has been critical as it wants to set down yardsticks for the future. A source said: “CABE wanted to send a strong message out that it will be going in tough on design for the pathfinders. We were first in the firing line.”

The design review panel also criticised Sandwell council for granting outline consent for access and road layout for the site. It said the council faced an uphill struggle to improve the quality of the area and recommended it refuse planning permission for phase one of the scheme.