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High standards in homes for social housing were applauded today by environment secretary John Gummer. ...
High standards in homes for social housing were applauded today by environment secretary John Gummer.

Giving prizes at the Housing Corporation Quality Counts award ceremony in Brighton, Mr Gummer said:

'The Housing Corporation launched the Quality Counts competition in July 1996 to reward the best examples in new-build social housing.

Home Housing Association, English Churches Housing Group and Hallam Housing Society were all unanimous winners in their categories; general needs, special needs and elderly people.

The high standards that have been achieved by these competitors set standards that will encourage other associations to follow.'

In making their decision the judges looked at the following criteria:

-- tenant satisfaction and long term maintainability

-- contribution to building sustainable communities

-- cost effectiveness and affordability

-- attention to quality features in external and internal design

Mr Gummer added:

'It can be difficult to strike the right balance between quality and value for money, however it is a target which all associations should aim for. The high standards of the schemes shown here today demonstrate that it is possible to produce high quality social housing at a competive cost - this is real value for money.'

Aim of the competition was to recognise the high standards that have been achieved by many associations and to encourage other associations to attain similar standards.

Competition winners were:

General needs: Home Housing Association - a development in Tyne & Wear of 75 houses, bungalows and flats built on reclaimed derelict industrial land Elderly people: Hallam Housing Society - a development in Barnsley, S Yorks. of 28 2-bedroom flats for older people. It was built in a suburb of Barnsley as part of a mixed-tenure development;

Special needs: English Churches Housing Group - a development in the centre of Guildford providing accommodation and support services for men and women. It is a direct entry scheme which caters for a diverse client group.

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