Debate 74: Building better places – who cares?, House of Lords

Monday, July 11th, 2016 | Debates

building-better-places-2016-cover1Would new national policies for the built environment work? Could a Chief Government Adviser deliver them?

In February 2016 the House of Lords published Building better places, the Report on the findings of the Select Committe on National Policy for the Built Environment to which the Edge gave evidence .

The Committee sought ‘a coherent set of responses’ to the many complex challenges facing decision-makers, and ‘to consider the development and implementation of national policy for the built environment’.

Committee members came from all main political parties and the cross-benches. They took evidence from practitioners, professional bodies, development interests, academics, amenity societies, central and local government politicians and officials. The Committee concluded that ‘as a nation, we need to recognise the power of place and to be much more ambitious when planning, designing, constructing and maintaining our built environment. Failure to do so will result in significant long-term costs.’ As of mid-May 2016 the Government had yet to respond.

The Committee made key recommendations to improve the quality of lives and places:
• Better co-ordination of built environment policies across government
• Appointment of a Chief Government Built Environment Adviser
• Taking better account of design impacts on work, health and the environment
• More attention on building for sustainability and resilience
• A strategy for long-term management of the historic environment
• More sustainable communities through long-term rented housing
• Increased support for local planning and place-making capacity
• More dynamic and co-ordinated plan-making
• Simplified neighbourhood planning
• … and much more

Can the Committee’s recommendations be delivered? Would a Chief Adviser have the clout and connections to deliver them? Would they make a positive difference if they were put into practice?

Chair: The Baroness Whitaker (Select Committee Member)
Speakers: The Baroness Andrews OBE (Select Committee Member)
Prof. Matthew Carmona, The Bartlett, UCL (Select Committee Adviser)
Ben Rogers (Director, Centre for London; ex-Cabinet Office Policy Unit)

Venue: Committee Room G, The House of Lords

The Debate was being held in collaboration with The Place Alliance

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