The chief executive of architectural watchdog CABE has called on the government to punish councils that refuse planning permission to well-designed housing schemes.
Jon Rouse made his comments in in a speech at the Housing Design Awards last week. He said: "The government could … crack down on councils who turn down well-designed high density schemes for no good reason."

Rouse also criticised housebuilders, who he said only had themselves to blame for their poor stock market valuations. The City's low esteem reflected their use of outdated construction methods and low-skill labour forces.

The speech offered strong support for prefabrication, and Rouse praised social housing specialists the Peabody Trust, Yorkshire Housing Association and Joseph Rowntree for pioneering it. He said factory-made housing was becoming more sophisticated, which "increasingly allowed the consumer to make their own choices about configurations, details and finishes".

Rouse added that deputy prime minister John Prescott should drive the regeneration agenda. He called on Prescott to create housing regeneration companies to tackle renewal in the north of England and the provision of affordable housing in the Thames Gateway.