Government to impose minimum design standards

Communities secretary Hazel Blears launched a strategy to improve design standards in new public buildings. She said that badly designed estates and low quality neighbourhoods ‘encourage crime, undermine communities, deter investment, spoil the environment and cost a fortune in the long term’. She added that good design was not a luxury that can be dropped during economic difficulties, and the government urged councils, social housing providers and developers to put good planning, local character and high quality design at the heart of development.