Headlines: April 12th, 2006

The construction industry’s response to the challenge to design and build a good quality two bedroomed house for 60,000 pounds has reached its final stage as building starts on two competition sites in Leeds and Northampton. The Design for Manufacture competition was launched by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in April 2005.96 homes will be built on the two sites for a construction cost of 60,000 pounds. The remainder will be a mix of smaller and larger homes constructed with similar cost efficiencies.

So far more than 300 homes have been designed and received planning permission. Almost 700 homes will also be created across another eight competition sites. All the homes demonstrate the highest standards of quality and design. The designs are innovative with features such as high energy efficiency and flexible layouts. Planning applications are currently being submitted for the remaining competition sites. It is anticipated that the use of detailed development briefs will play a key role in helping these applications move swiftly through the planning system. English Partnerships has been working closely with the relevant local councils to develop briefs designed to help developers know what is acceptable to local planning authorities.

Each of the developments will create mixed-tenure communities, including homes for sale, rent, social housing and for first time buyers under a shared equity scheme. A minimum of 30 per cent of homes on each competition site will be built to a construction cost of 60,000 pounds.

An exhibition to showcase the home designs generated through the competition will be held between 15-20 May 2006 at the Building Centre in London.