Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 475-479)




  475. Good morning and can I welcome you all to the final session of the Committee's inquiry into tall buildings. Can I ask you to identify yourselves for the record.
  (Mr Davies) I am Philip Davies; I am the Regional Director for London of English Heritage.
  (Sir Neil Cossons) I am Neil Cossons; I am the Chairman of English Heritage.
  (Mr Finch) I am Paul Finch, Deputy Chairman of CABE.
  (Mr Rouse) I am Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of CABE.

  476. Do any of you want to say anything by way of introduction or are you happy for us to go straight ahead?
  (Sir Neil Cossons) We have a very brief introduction, Chairman. We have four points to make very quickly. We believe this debate is primarily about people and places and the quality of urban environments which can be vibrant, in which people can live and work and which have social and economic viability, and that the debate about tall buildings is a part/subset of that. The second point is that English Heritage is not and never has been opposed to tall buildings as such but is particularly anxious that, if the case is made for tall buildings, they should be in the right place. Thirdly, we are very aware of the paucity of social and economic evidence for tall buildings and have a research study just commencing in which CABE and others right across the section, including developers, will be involved in order to try and provide all of them with better quality of information. Finally, we think that the matter is of such importance that there ought to be some form of national guidance, possibly in a PPG.

  477. Is there any timescale for the research?
  (Sir Neil Cossons) We hope that we might have the initial results by the spring of next year; there is a possibility of before then.

Mr Betts

  478. Could I just have an idea about the scale of the issue. Have you any record about the number of proposals coming forward to build tall buildings?
  (Mr Davies) Not nationally. Our regional offices are obviously approached on a regular basis about proposals that are coming forward. In London, we think there are perhaps as many as 15 or 20 coming forward at this particular point in time. It is quite difficult to get a figure of the national overview at this stage.
  (Mr Finch) I would say they are now commonplace, not just in London. Tall buildings are pretty much in all our chief urban areas as proposals.

  479. Is this an increase in the trend?
  (Mr Finch) Yes.

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