Mark Prisk’s first comments on Help-to-Buy Scheme at Blue Ribbon Awards Evening





RH Mark Prisk joined over 300 industry experts to speak at the Ideal Home Show Blue Ribbon Awards just hours after Chancellor George Osborne announced the Help-to-Buy scheme which aims to boost the housing market with support worth more than £130bn.


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Hosted by Architect and TV presenter George Clarke, the Blue Ribbon Awards were revived at this year’s Ideal Home Show and celebrate and acknowledge excellence in building design, sustainability and community development, providing a modern-day benchmark for the consumer housing market.


Talking about his time spent studying Land Management at the University of Reading, Prisk comments: “The Blue Ribbon Awards were one of the leading benchmarks for the industry and regarded by all building professionals as one of the events that people actually wanted to be part of, so it is great that they are coming back.”


Commenting on the current housing market: “Of late we have been experiencing quite a dysfunctional housing market – we haven’t been building what people need and also we haven’t been thinking about the quality.


“Today with the budget we have looked to add investment in to the private rented sector and the affordable housing sector, but also how we can help people struggling to get the deposits together to buy a new home.


“The point about ‘Help-to-Buy’ is to make sure that home buyers and not just first time byers are able to look at those properties that they simply can’t afford. It is a much larger scheme and a scheme that should lever in about £130bn of mortgages in to the housing market. It could have the chance to kick start demand.”


But Quantity is not just the only issue adds Prisk. “It is quite tempting as Housing Minister to focus on the number of units as opposed to number of homes. We need to think about the customer in this.


Commenting on today’s Budget announcement, Award host, George Clarke adds: “I fully support the announcement by the government today for launching the Help-to-Buy scheme – I personally feel that it is long overdue. Any scheme that makes it easier for ordinary people to buy a home has to be welcomed.


“Hopefully this will kick start the housing industry. It’s a bold investment but one that may even see us build our way out of this recession, and will offer further support to the otherwise fledging building industry.”


Winners in the eleven categories included; Coffey Architects, Linden Homes, Pitman Tozer, Emrys Architects, Urban Splash and MW Architects amongst others, who beat stiff competition from over 250 rival entrants from across the UK to take home the prestigious Blue Ribbon accolade for some of the best and most innovative projects in the industry.


The ‘Ideal Home of the Year’ award was split into two parts and awarded to Coffey Architects for their Solo Project the AD++ House in York, and Homes by Skanska, Cambridge for the House Builder & Developer category, for House Type 7, in their new Seven Acres development. For the York house, the judges enjoyed the scheme’s bold imagination and its carefully orchestrated relationship with the existing house and exterior spaces. For Skanska, new to the UK housing market, the judges were encouraged by the developer’s clean, uncluttered aesthetic and impressed with the attention paid to the ‘human’ elements of domestic life.


Emrys Architects were awarded Ideal Apartment of the Year for its mixed-use development in Newman Street, London, a good example of turning unremarkable office space into energy efficient 21st century homes. The judges were collectively enthused with the sensitive and thoughtful approach to refurbishment generally, and are unanimously vocal in their praise of the ambitious scheme.


In another split category, the Ideal Conversion or Refurbishment of the Year Award for Developers and House Builder was given to Linden Homes for Kingston Mills in Bradford-upon-Avon, a unique waterside development which blends seamlessly with the historic town. In ‘Solo Project’, Pitman Tozer Architects’ redevelopment and extension of a house in Newton Road, Bayswater, London, creates large lateral spaces that are sympathetic to the exterior environment.


Linden Homes scooped a second award of the evening as this year’s House Builder of the Year, for their careful planning and consideration of surrounding environments. The judges very much liked the unifying vision for the whole scheme at Kingston Mills especially, and appreciated the approach both to site planning and design as a creative response to the site and its surroundings.


The Ideal Housing Development of the Year was awarded to Urban Splash, the highly respected British property developers, for Lakeshore, Bristol, a sustainable redevelopment of the old W&HO Wills cigarette factory. The team also picked up the award for Developer of the Year for their work in transforming disused buildings across the UK.


This year’s Housing Architect of the Year Award went to MW Architects for Essex Mews in Crystal Palace, South London. The judges were without exception full of praise for the creation of a new vernacular and pleased to award the architects the accolade for outstanding design in the aesthetic, contextual, functional and above all human sense.


Self-Build Project of the Year was awarded to Studio Bednarski for the so-called Double House project which is Cezary Bednarski’s own home in Westbourne Park Road, London. The judges considered this inventive, imaginative project to be a creative yet practical solution, combining beautiful architecture with extensive environmental considerations and a highly developed sensitivity to the local area and community.


This year’s Interior Design of the Year went to Iglis Badrashi Loddo Architects for a house in Shepherds Hill, Highgate that had been converted into a Mennonite church. The architects’ ‘conversion of a conversion’ used some extremely bold moves such as the creation of an enormous double-height space at the back of the house, with a spectacular window to match. ‘It’s not often,’ said one of the judges, ‘that we see an interior that pushes all the functional and programmatic buttons but also manages to come out with style, grace and a very Big Idea.’


During the ceremony an award was also given to the winners of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community’s inaugural Young Designers Competition. The winning design from Team ‘Future Traditional’, a collaboration between Douglas Ardern, Jamie Wallace and Ruaridh Inverarity, formed the basis for this year’s Prince’s House at The Ideal Home Show.


Commenting on this year’s Prince’s House at the Ideal Home Show, he adds: “There is controversy here, some people feel that the traditional and the contemporary should never meet, but actually if you look at the way the design has been developed inside and out, it shows that you can draw together traditional values and turn them in to a contemporary opportunity.


“The arguments about design and affordability should not be in conflict. Good design can be affordable if you start from inception.”


Speaking about event host, George Clarke and his ‘Empty Homes Campaign,’ Prisk commented: ‘George keeps me on my toes when it comes to the issue of restoration – I am a great believer that new is important, but we have some fantastic assets, underused – idle very often – in our public sector land and we need to make sure they are brought back in to use. It is something I, George and the Prince are very passionate about.”


All entries were judged by a panel of some of the finest professionals in the industry; Hank Dittmar (Chief Executive, Prince’s Foundation), George Clarke (Broadcaster, Prince’s Foundation Ambassador, & MR of George Clarke Associates), Angela Brady (President, RIBA), Ted Stevens (Chair, National Self Build Association), Paul Monaghan (Partner, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris), David Hills (Partner, DSDHA), Sue Timney (Interior Designer), Gary Lewis (Chair, CEDIA & Director of Cornflake), David Bryant (New Homes Marketing Board) and Oliver Novakovic (Director of Building Futures, Building Research Establishment).

The awards were held in partnership with some of the industry’s most credible housing authorities including; The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the Building Research Establishment and the Home Builders Federation.

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