The House of Lords has established a Select Committee to consider ‘the development and implementation of national policy for the built environment’.
The Committee will explore the following key issues in detail and would welcome your views on any or all of the following questions. Please note that questions are not listed here in any particular order of importance.
As many of the policy areas which are likely to be considered by the Committee are devolved, the principal focus of the inquiry will be upon policy for the built environment in England. Notwithstanding this, comparisons and examples of practice from other parts of the UK would also be welcome.
The Committee wishes to focus primarily on the future challenges and priorities for built environment policy. Comments on past and present practices are welcome where they illustrate the lessons that should be learned for built environment policy in the future.
Written evidence should arrive no later than 6 October 2015.
1.Are the decisions that shape England’s built environment taken at the right administrative level? What role should national policymakers play in shaping our built environment, and how does this relate to the work and role of local authorities and their partners?
2.How well is policy coordinated across those Government departments that have a role to play in matters such as housing, design, transport, infrastructure, sustainability and heritage? How could integration and coordination be improved?
3.Does the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) provide sufficient policy guidance for those involved in planning, developing and protecting the built and natural environment? Are some factors within the NPPF more important than others? If so, what should be prioritised and why?
4.Is national planning policy in England lacking a spatial perspective? What would be the effects of introducing a spatial element to national policy?
5.Is there an optimum timescale for planning our future built environment needs and requirements? How far ahead should those involved in the development of planning and built environment policy be looking?
6.What role should the Government play in seeking to address current issues of housing supply? Are further interventions, properly coordinated at central Government level, required? What will be the likely effect upon housing supply of recent reforms proposed for the planning system?
7.How do we develop built environments which are sustainable and resilient, and what role should the Government play in any such undertaking? Will existing buildings and places be able to adapt to changing needs and circumstances in the years to come? How can the best use of existing housing stock and built environment assets be made?
8.To what extent do we make optimum use of the historic environment in terms of future planning, regeneration and place-making? How can more be made of these national assets?
9.Do the professions involved in this area (e.g. planners, surveyors, architects, engineers etc.) have the skills adequately to consider the built environment in a holistic manner? How could we begin to address any skills issues? Do local authorities have access to the skills and resources required to plan, shape and manage the built environment in their areas?
10.Are we using the right tools and techniques to promote high quality design and ‘place-making’ at the national level? How could national leadership on these matters be enhanced?
11.Do those involved in delivering and managing our built environment, including decision-makers and developers, take sufficient account of the way in which the built environment affects those who live and work within it? How could we improve consideration of the impacts of the built environment upon the mental and physical health of users, and upon behaviours within communities?
12.How effectively are communities able to engage with the process of decision making that shapes the built environment in which they live and work? Are there any barriers to effective public engagement and, if so, how might they be addressed?
13.Are there fiscal or financial measures potentially available which would help to address current issues of housing and land supply? Are there financial or other mechanisms that would encourage better design and place-making by private sector developers?