“Pig-Ugly” Housing Gives Development A Bad Name, Says UK Planning Minister

  • 04 Dec 2012
  • by
  • Architecture News Editor's Choice
The minister branded housing developments like Harrisons Wharf (pictured) as “pig-ugly,” an insult to the community. Image via the Daily Mail

For once, British architects, the Prince’s Foundation, and NIMBYs have something they can all agree on. In a speech to the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA),  planning minister, Nick Boles, has come out swinging against the “pig-ugliness” of British housing, which has given it a bad name:

“We are trapped in a vicious circle. People look at the new housing estates that have been bolted onto their towns and villages in recent decades and observe that few of them are beautiful. Indeed, not to put too fine a point of it, many of them are pig-ugly [...]In a nutshell, because we don’t build beautifully, people don’t let us build much. And because we don’t build much, we can’t afford to build beautifully. My personal mission as planning minister is to help us break out of this vicious cycle once and for all.”

The criticism has been welcomed by many British architects as a necessary wake-up call for Britain and a call-to-action for its architects.

More on this story, after the break…

Boles identified the Localism Act, which has allowed communities to draw up local plans and shape development in their area, as the government’s “most revolutionary step” towards housing expansion, but recognizes that the future of housing (and its public reception) will truly lie in the hands of planners, architects and developers.

Bole’s position has even brought Architects and The Prince’s Foundation (a traditional housing organization often at odds with architectural innovation) onto the same side.  As Hank Dittmar, chief executive at The Prince’s Foundation, has explained: “Our extensive experience with communities shows us that what NIMBYs are really asking for is higher quality development that fits into their communities. If they can be convinced of this point, they will tend to support new development. Design needs to be a key consideration from the outset and new developments need to add value to a place and their communities.”

Executive Editor of BDOnline, Ellis Woodman, agrees, seeing architects as vital players who will not just design beautiful housing, but also make sure that England’s countryside is preserved (Boles has, to the alarm of some conservationists, stated that up to 1.65 million acres of ‘open land’ could be developed): “Having empowered local communities through its radical reframing of planning legislation, the government now has to find a way of persuading them that large-scale development is in their interests. But there are pathetically few recent UK models that would suggest that it is. If architects have a central role in that fight, they are also surely key to ensuring that Boles’ vision of expanding the area on which we build doesn’t result in the obliteration of the countryside.”

Story via of bdonline.uk and PLANNING

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "“Pig-Ugly” Housing Gives Development A Bad Name, Says UK Planning Minister" 04 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=302155>

2 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I absolutely agree with the critique and that UK housing (like the one shown on the image in this article) is absolutely pig-ugly. This is the affordable housing type that was once meant for the factory workers, miners and sailors, and it was through the prism of time accepted as the general UK housing for “everyone” (except the rich who can actually choose how and where to live). This practice has to be banned and never be built, it’s not just ugly, it is impractical too!
    My only concern is that this outburst from the minister is just a political act – as they usually are. Just like the localism bill itself which gives the right to rant but not to actually achieve anything through the ranting..

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This web page is mostly a stroll-by means of for the entire data you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll positively uncover it.

Share your thoughts