Don't Take Us For-Grant-Ed Schapps

Grant Shapps has been hitting the headlines a fair bit of late hasn’t he?  First there was the mortgage summit when called on new homes developers to do more to help first time buyers onto the property ladder and now he’s asking us to stop building “Lego homes.”  

We made our views on the mortgage summit at the time so won’t go back there – though my views on the more recent comments aren’t greatly different.

To put this in context I can only assume that Shapps’ Lego inspired comments were prompted by the recently announced merger of CABE and the design council which is to take place on 1 April this year.

Now I should make it very clear that we at Miller Homes welcome this move. In fact I have discussed the whole subject at great length with our Divisional Development Director Stephen Wielebski whose view was that it builds upon the pre-planning application consultations we already undertake as an integral part of our wider corporate planning policy.  For a good number of years our public consultations have not only involved existing communities but a long list of other stakeholders too – not least the Environment Agency.

But to accuse us of building identikit Legoland homes – ouch!  People need only look at our customer care responses to appreciate that we provide new homes in attractive sustainable communities.  On top of that our homes are some of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient in the UK right now.

Our Unity Quarter development in Salford is a prime example of how we regularly go above and beyond the design ethos that underpins PPS3 and the Building for Life concept.

And our Miller Zero development set a whole new standard in new build eco homes.

A huge number of our current developments have not only taken on board the recommendations of the Local Authority’s Urban Designer (who  is usually CABE accredited) but they have also respected the prevailing vernacular of the existing built environment through appropriate material choices.

So when it comes to calls for more new builds in this country – I have to agree with Shapps.  This is urgently required.  I agree that Local Planners need to be more supportive of the new homes industry – but on the point that developers are building unimaginative homes that don’t fit in with the surroundings I have to take issue.

There are some incredible developments springing up around the country and every year new homes get better and better.  These days public open spaces community facilities sustainability features and even public art are common place – and there isn’t a Lego brick in sight.  I promise.

Sue Warwick National Sales and Marketing Director Miller Homes