LETTER:Why the Government paid pounds 150,000 per new 'council' house

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The Independent Online
THE claim that the use of advisers largely explains the cost of pounds 150,000 per house on the Housing Action Trust's Waltham Forest scheme is astonishing.

Even the cost quoted by Waltham Forest of pounds 50,201 a house after demolition, diversion of main services and the construction of a sound wall seems excessive. I designed council housing at Milton Keynes in the Eighties and the cost per three-bedroom house was around pounds 15,000, equivalent to about pounds 30,000 today. This included landscaping, drainage, access roads and parking.

The real explanation lies with an unnecessarily complex design and fussy details which have no justification on aesthetic grounds. Compare these pretentious terraces with the simplicity of the artisan's dwelling of the 1830s, where quality depended on little else than generous proportion in flat facades of good brickwork.

Stephen Gardiner

London SW3