Housing minister says housebuilders should move away from identikit homes and listen to local communities

Housing minister Grant Shapps has urged architects and builders to ’think outside the identikit Legoland box’.

In a letter to the Design Council, the minister encouraged them to work with developers on builds which reflect the identity of the local area.

The Localism Bill currently before Parliament will enable communities to draw up ’neighbourhood plans’ to decide what their area should look like.

Shapps also encouraged the Design Council to work with communities on how they could effectively use ’neighbourhood plans’ to support development in their areas.

The minister said: “I want more developers to think outside these Legoland designs and consider how the expertise, knowledge and materials that are locally available could be best used to reflect the identity of their surrounding neighbourhood.

Commenting on the ministers letter, executive chairman of the House Builders Federation, Stewart Baseley said: “Housebuilders share the housing minister’s vision of delivering homes that communities want - but we need Government to provide the ingredients that enables the cake to be baked.

“The Government’s localism agenda, when finalised, will give local authorities and communities the powers to decide what housing is built in their areas.

“Housebuilders for their part stand ready to work with local communities to deliver the homes they need - and want.”