Have you ever had visitors from another country who got lost on the way to your home because “everything looks the same”? Someone who has been in the UK for a while is probably used to seeing estates all built to a certain style. Milton Keynes is known very well for estates contrasting from one another yet, the buildings within each of these look almost identical; this could be due to strict planning rules. Planners sometimes prefer homes to stand out depending on the location, however, often your highest chances for approval are with extensions and alterations which fit in with the surrounding buildings in your area.
Architecture in Europe, for example in Germany, tends to be more relaxed when it comes to residential properties. Crossing the streets on the outskirts of Frankfurt and travelling through small towns of south-western Germany, it’s clear that planning isn’t an issue over there. Each home is different; brick or render, they come in all sorts of colours. White, yellow, cream, even pink or green for the more adventurous. The country known for its pre-fabricated passive houses doesn’t have a specific style and each home is different despite being on the same street.
Other European countries are similar and the only time the design is limited is when the property is located in either a conservation or central area.
Even though it may be difficult in some cases to obtain planning approval, and it is easy to get lost; we should embrace the architecture we have here because it tells the history of how the country has developed and progressed in architecture. Big cities like London or Liverpool consist of an eclectic combination of architectural styles, a complete contrast to towns, take The Shard and Buckingham Palace as an example; two different eras in one place, it’s abstract but surprisingly fitting.