Norwich social housing scheme scoops Britain's top architectural award

Reports that a council-built social housing estate of low-rise brick terraces in Norwich has won "British architecture's most prestigious award" feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that, "designed by architects Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley, the hundred houses of Goldsmith Street are the result of Norwich council cleverly negotiating rules that were designed by the Thatcher government to stop councils reinvesting the proceeds of right-to-buy council housing sales to build new housing. They are 100 per cent council built and owned, making them a rarity."

A leader column in The Times (subscription) says the scheme "deserves unbridled acclaim". It says: "Social tenants are not crammed like sardines into tower blocks but given their own front doors, shared spaces to meet, safe and car-free zones for children to scooter about in. It is often assumed that ecological architecture must be ugly, inconvenient or expensive. This development proves the opposite."

Writing in The Times, housing minister Esther McVey says that new developments "should enhance the beauty of local places, rather than looking like they could have been built anywhere". She adds that "building in this way will help to unlock public consent for delivering the homes the country so desperately needs."

The Times reports that the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank, has told ministers that the High Speed Two rail project "should be scrapped and bottlenecks eliminated on the conventional network instead". It says that a study by the think tank "said that money for the programme would be better spent upgrading intercity lines and bringing mothballed regional routes back to life."

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