Interim Report Suggests Greater Public Input Into Planning Process

Local councils have been advised to redevelop retail parks into ‘mixed use’ communities and to also offer improved levels of public involvement in the planning process.

Currently, many retail parks and large supermarkets were built specifically as retail units to house shops and restaurants. However, the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’ interim report claims that new build developments should be built around these areas to create a ‘mixed use’ community.

The report also claims that the local community should have a more effective and earlier say in housing plans that will affect them.

Additionally, the report has examined ways developments could ensure they are more beautiful. Councils should feel confident in ‘saying no to ugly’ by using older examples to highlight poor practice.

The report has also suggested that the public should be included in the design standards councils set developers to ensure improved quality is achieved.

Nicholas Boys Smith, Interim Chairman of the Commission, commented:

“Redeveloping abandoned out of town retail parks and ugly old supermarkets would deliver something much more beautiful in the form of thriving new communities where people can raise a family, work or settle down.

“Our initial report sets many ways we can make our country more beautiful while fulfilling the needs of future generations who will need a roof over their head.

“We need to move the democracy up-stream from development control to plan-making.

“Beauty should not be just a property of the old buildings or protected landscapes but something we expect from new buildings, places and settlements. We need to deliver beauty for everyone, not just the wealthy. This will require, ultimately, some fundamental changes. Hopefully our report will start part of that important debate with the public and the professions.

“These are draft proposals at this stage, and we would welcome further feedback before we put a final report to the government in the coming months.”

James Brokenshire MP, Communities Secretary, said:

“I am determined to reach our target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, but it’s right that we do not do this at any expense – what is built must stand the test of time.

“We owe it to the next generation to not just build more homes, but to build communities people can be proud of.

“As a country, we should not shy away from talking about what building beautifully means – and this report is an important contribution to that discussion.”

Are beautiful new build developments important? Will improving the standards and beauty in a new build area create increased demand?

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