Lancashire CC chooses NY architect chosen for £13m Preston Bus Station

The winning design has been chosen in the architectural competition for Preston’s iconic bus station and new Youth Zone Plus.

New York-based John Puttick Associates was chosen from the five anonymous shortlisted entries by the judges.

This was the same design chosen by people as their favourite in the public vote.

The plans will see a multi-million pound investment in the Grade II listed bus station site, to create a vibrant public space and a home for the new Preston Youth Zone Plus – while preserving the building’s unique brutalist architecture.

The architectural competition was run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), on behalf of Lancashire County Council and Preston Youth Zone.

The public voted for their favourite design in July, at a special two-day exhibition held in the bus station and online. A total of 4,215 votes were cast by people choosing their favourite design for a new youth zone.

The votes by the public were taken into consideration by the judges, as well as architectural considerations.

Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: ‘We always knew that the bus station had a global appeal, and the fact that the winning firm comes from New York reinforces this.

‘We’re delighted that a strong design has been chosen for the new Youth Zone Plus and we’ll now be working hard to get it built.

‘This is a significant investment in one of Preston’s most well-known buildings, which will bring exciting new facilities for our young people, for this generation and for future ones.

‘It’s an exciting time for the city, with improvements taking place on Fishergate and the first steps in the redevelopment of Preston Market. These plans are all part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, which is creating new job opportunities, providing new housing and making it easier for people to get around.’

John Puttick, the architect behind the chosen design, said: ‘The Preston Bus Station development is an important opportunity to create a destination that makes a genuine difference for both visitors and the local community.

‘The three components of the project – the revitalisation of the modernist bus station, the new OnSide Youth Zone, and a large outdoor public space – offer a rich mixture of uses and the challenge of sensitively introducing contemporary design to the existing setting.

‘We are delighted to have been selected as the winners of the competition and are excited to develop the design with the client and stakeholders. We hope to play a game of football on the roof once the project is complete.’

The county council and Preston Youth Zone will now work with the architects, John Puttick Associates, to agree on the final design, with the planning application submitted later this year.

Planning approval will be required for the Youth Zone Plus, as well as listed building consent and approval from Historic England, before building work can start.

Find more details…

Background info via IHBC NewsBlogs

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Select Committee on National Policy on Farrell Review

The House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has also published a transcript from an evidence session on Thursday 16 July 2015.

The session heard evidence from the Head of Heritage at DCMS, Gill Graham, the Director of Planning at DCLG, Ruth Stainer, the Chief Planner at DCLG, Steve Quartermain, and Bob Ledsome, Deputy Director for Building Regulations and Standards, DCLG.

Questions in the evidence session included: how the government is taking forward the recommendations of the Farrell Review, how the government intends to take forward its new proposals for prioritising the development of brownfield land, what effect will new proposals to allow additional stories to be added in London without planning permission, whether England should have a spatial plan, and the benefits of moving the responsibility for architecture and design from DCMS to DCLG.

For this Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment see the website

Read the transcript

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UK’s largest national nature reserve proposed

The biggest national nature reserve designation in the UK was approved by the Board of Scottish National Heritage this month.

The RSPB writes:
The UK’s newest and largest National Nature Reserve (NNR) – The Great Trossachs Forest – took a step closer to reality today (13 August), after it was approved by the Board of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The Great Trossachs Forest NNR, which lies at the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, is home to magnificent wildlife in an area within an hour’s drive for 80% of Scotland’s population.

Speaking after the Board meeting, Ian Ross, the SNH chairman, said: ‘I’m delighted that our Board has today given the go-ahead to the new Great Trossachs Forest NNR. Covering 16,500 hectares it will be Scotland’s largest reserve, with a variety of wildlife, habitats, and landforms, including some of national or international importance such as ancient woodland, wet woodland and upland wood pasture.  However, as well as being such an ecologically important site, The Great Trossachs Forest NNR clearly displays the key features associated with a NNR – it is nationally important, well managed and is inspiring and accessible to the public, offering a host of attractions for visitors to experience, savour, and enjoy. This stunning location is an inspirational backdrop for people to responsibly enjoy Scotland’s outstanding natural heritage.’

Scotland’s newest reserve covers a swathe of land from Inversnaid on the east bank of Loch Lomond, through Loch Katrine and Glen Finglas and almost as far as Callander.

View the press release

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Welsh historic buildings benefit from Community Facilities Programme

A historic chapel in Pembroke Dock and a Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newbridge are among those benefiting from a £1.6 million Community Facilities Programme fund.

The Welsh Government writes:
The Community Facilities Programme provides capital grant funding of up to £500,000 for community and voluntary organisations to help mitigate the impact of poverty, through creating and improving local facilities.

The Minister has awarded £154,852 to Bulldogs Boxing and Community Activities in Port Talbot to extend its current gym so it can be used by the wider community, including disabled users and amputees. The extension will also create smaller rooms, allowing the team to offer counselling for people suffering post traumatic stress and peer mentoring sessions, as part of a successful armed forces veterans support scheme.

Faith in Families is set to receive £500,000 to relocate the Penplas Family Centre in Swansea to larger premises. The family centre offers a range of services for children, such as school and holiday clubs, speech and language services, access to children’s mental health services and a library. Moving the centre to St Teilo’s Church is set to increase the number of children able to take part in the after-school club annually to 140, with 250 children able to benefit from holiday play schemes.

Bethel Chapel in Pembroke Dock has been awarded £48,705 to refurbish unused parts of the chapel to create a drop-in coffee shop, a meeting/training room, a Trussell Trust food bank and a debt counselling service. The Chapel already runs coffee mornings, a parent and toddler group and a low cost weekly lunch service for vulnerable people, such as the elderly, isolated or homeless.

The Minister has also approved funding for two churches in Caerphilly – the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newbridge and St Dingat’s in New Tredegar. The Tabernacle will receive £498,460 to renovate its upper school room in order to extend its current community services. The funding will enable the church to hold more training and youth activities, establish a food bank in partnership with the Trussell Trust, and take part in the Night Shelter scheme where churches provide a place for homeless people to shelter in winter months.

The Parish of Bedwellty and New Tredegar will benefit from £400,000 to refurbish and extend St Dingat’s Church, which is the base for the Rhymney Valley Food-bank. The Church works closely with the local Communities First Cluster and hosts a variety of local services, including the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Local Authority Housing Benefit and Social Services teams. The funding will enable the Church to accommodate even more community groups, develop a social enterprise selling crafts, floristry and food, and increase the number of people using the building by at least 140 a month.

View the press release

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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Peak District woodlands to be sold

The Peak District National Park Authority is to sell a number of woodlands with six initial sites selected.

Jane Chapman, assistant director at the Peak District National Park Authority, said: ‘Following a review of our properties, we have identified six woodlands to be sold now, with a similar number to follow later in the year.

‘Having established or improved these woods – often by reclaiming former rubbish tips or quarry sites – then protected and maintained them over many years, we have fulfilled our primary objective as a national park. We now want to return these natural assets to the community, as we are reducing our liabilities at a time of budget reductions and would like to make the best possible use of the resources we have.

‘The sales will allow us to focus on the protection, improvement and maintenance of our remaining woodlands.’

The Authority currently manages 120 woodlands, covering approximately 443 hectares of land. The portfolio has been acquired since the designation of the national park, with the aim of securing important landscape features, rescuing woodlands which were deemed to be under threat or in need of restoration. They were also acquired as part of major estates.

Peak District NPA news

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QEST Apprenticeships deadline approaching: 28 August

The deadline for the The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) apprenticeships, which helps support artisans of all age, is 28 August

The Royal Warrant Holders Association writes:
Last year QEST piloted the Apprenticeship Scheme in a bid to support new talent in the craft world, as well as to address the nationwide issue of youth unemployment. We are very pleased to report that our pilot year was a success, having sponsored 6 QEST Apprentices in 2014, as well as 4 QEST Apprentices at the start of 2015. So far we have received extremely positive feedback from both apprentices and employers, who are enthusiastically taking part in training up the next generation of craftspeople working in Britain, and subsequently carrying forth the nation’s valuable skills.

We have now launched our second round of QEST Apprenticeship applications this year, with a 28 August deadline and interviews w/c 16 November. Going forward QEST will be holding Scholarships interviews each spring, with Apprenticeship interviews taking place each autumn.

Find out more about QEST 

View the press release

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EH blog on blue plaques

English Heritage (EH) has published a short history of the blue plaque scheme on their website, together with links on how to propose a blue plaque and information on how the design came about.

View the blog

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IHBC welcomes Prof May Cassar as 2015 Student Award judge

GASA WebsiteProfessor May Cassar, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Heritage at University College London (UCL) has been appointed as the judge for this year’s IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards, the Institute’s annual award presented for an outstanding item of relevant work presented as part of a UK taught course.

Speaking about her appointment as judge, Professor Cassar offered her appreciation of the offer to judge the awards, saying: ‘I am delighted to accept the IHBC’s invitation to judge the Gus Astley Award 2015.  The Award recognises the quality of work into the historic built environment carried out by conservation students across the UK.  I look forward to supporting the IHBC’s drive for conservation excellence and to helping to establish the next generation of historic built environment professionals.’

Professor Cassar is especially well known for her interdisciplinary research into the impact of climate change on cultural heritage, working with external partners such as the British Museum, the former English Heritage as well as international bodies.  She has previously acted as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry on Science and Heritage between 2005 and 2006, and was awarded the Royal Warrant Holder Association’s 2012 Plowden Medal, as Programme Director of the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Research Programme which recognised her outstanding commitment to heritage conservation.

David McDonald, IHBC Education Secretary said: ‘The IHBC’s annual Gus Astley Student Award goes on from strength to strength, and having Professor May Cassar as its judge this year is a real testament to its academic reputation. Professor Cassar’s role as Director of Sustainable Heritage at the Bartlett, along with her expertise in so many aspects of conservation, from tangible to cultural heritage, means that she is especially well-placed to assess the wide range of dissertations submitted’.

Bob Kindred MBE, IHBC Education Committee Vice Chair and Chair of the Gus Astley Awards Trustees said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Professor Cassar as the judge for the awards in the forthcoming year. The standard of submissions for these prestigious conservation awards continues at an impressive level and I’m sure selecting a winner will be rewarding task for Professor Cassar.’

‘The winner and all the other successful shortlisted candidates will receive their prizes at the IHBC’s 2016 School in Worcester between 23-25 June 2016, and I look forward to meeting them there.  In conversation with past recipients, I know that offering the shortlisted student nominees a place at the School is a great incentive to participate, and is one of the best ways for us to help them in the formative stages of their careers and for them to be able to experience the wide range of work done by the Institute’s members.’ 

Find out more about Professor Cassar’s work at SEAHA (the Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology)

More information about Professor Cassar’s award of the Plowden Medal in 2012

Background information on GASA Awards 

Information on the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

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THA responds to ‘Fixing the Foundations’ + releases call for evidence

The Heritage Alliance has released a statement responding to the recent Treasury’s Statement of Intent, Fixing the Foundations: The Government’s Productivity Plan (highlighting issues of particular concern to the historic environment), and are also seeking your evidence to assist in forming a response to the comprehensive spending review, by 21 August.

The Heritage Alliance (THA) writes:
The Heritage Alliance welcomes HM Treasury’s Statement of Intent, Fixing the Foundations: The Government’s Productivity Plan, as a means of addressing the housing shortage in the UK. The Alliance has long supported the Government’s campaign to streamline the planning system while conserving our heritage in order to maximise its economic, environmental and social returns.

The Plan proposes changes to the wider planning system, but we limit our comments to its potential implications for the historic environment and those who care for it.

Our general concerns are:

  1. The Plan has a presumption that planning is a barrier to development and that reducing the level of planning controls will directly increase productivity, but it does not cover supporting local planning authorities to make them more efficient and thus able to make sound decisions in a timely fashion. In our view good planning is, and has long been, a necessary precondition for increasing productivity through helping deliver attractive places where people want to live and work. In addition, businesses that depend upon Britain’s built and natural heritage, including our highly productive tourism and creative industries, as well as the heritage industry itself, require a planning system that can effectively manage and conserve heritage from harmful change.
  2. The Plan makes little reference to capacity and expertise in Local Planning Authorities to manage the planning system, and in particular the historic environment, efficiently and effectively to create better places.
  3. There needs to be secure funding for Historic England to perform its national role of advising and helping local planning authorities with heritage expertise.
  4. There is little discussion of safeguards for the environment, the historic environment in particular, or the importance of existing legislation for either designated or undesignated heritage assets on development sites and simplified planning areas like brownfield sites.
  5. The trend towards a Zonal System for Brownfield Land which militates against mixed uses or sustainable development, fails to recognise and protect its archaeological interest, does not understand or make use of the environment in the area, and reduces control over the quality of design.
  6. There is no reference to sustainable development in the Plan, though the presumption in favour of sustainable development is the ‘golden thread’ running through the National Planning Policy Framework.

View the full THA response to Fixing the Foundations (including specific responses to historic environment safeguarding, Local Authority spending, borwnfield land zoning, design and placemaking and community engagement) on THA’s website

And find out how to help the THA Comprehensive Spending Review response on THA’s website

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CITB supports new ‘WEcan’ work experience programme

The new WEcan work experience initiative which highlights opportunities in different career paths and improves transferable skills for young people (as well as appointing youth ambassadors for peer to peer support) is being supported by CITB, who will be highlighting those who offer construction work experience and career opportunities.

CITB writes:
A new campaign ‘WEcan’ has been launched to help give young people a taste of working life. The new government initiative aims to help provide more youngsters with the chance to benefit from work experience placements, something Employment Minister Priti Patel says will boost their prospects of getting a job.

CITB are one of many organisations already backing the work experience campaign, and it is hoped that many more will now come on board and offer work experience placements.

The initiative will include the appointment of youth ambassadors, who will offer young people advice on how to get a placement.  Ms Patel says the campaign aims to help young people gain valuable skills as well as an insight into the world of work.  She said: “Young people tell me they can’t get a job without work experience, but they can’t get work experience without a job.  That is why we are launching the WEcan campaign to give young people practical advice about making the most of their summer holidays – and beyond – to gain valuable business skills.  With 14 million jobs likely to open up in the UK in the next decade, this one nation government wants young people to be at the forefront of the opportunities to get the best start in life.”

CITB supports work experience in construction through its Experience Construction Project (ECP), which is a work experience programme that allows applicants and employers to make the right choice before they fill an apprenticeship place.

CITB will be supporting the WEcan campaign in the coming weeks by highlighting those in the construction industry that are supporting work experience in the sector.

View the press release

Find out more about WEcan

Find out more about CITB and work experience opportunities

IHBC newblogs on construction

IHBC learning opportunities site

IHBC jobs etc

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RTPI research – building in the green belt

The RTPI have released new research which shows that constructing new homes in London’s green belt could result in 3.9-7.5 million car journeys each week.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) writes:
Using commuting data from the 2011 Census (provided by Nomis) the RTPI has today published analysis which finds that adding 1 million homes near railway stations in London’s Metropolitan green belt could see 3.9-7.5 million car journeys each week added to roads which are already struggling with congestion and delays. These findings – Building in the green belt? A report into commuting in the Metropolitan green belt challenge the assumption that building in the green belt around railway stations would see the majority of new residents using the train to get to jobs in London and could therefore be easily accommodated.

Over the past year various think tanks, academics and policy commentators have considered whether green belt boundaries around London should be relaxed in order to ease the housing crisis. These proposals often suggest the release of green belt land within easy walking or cycling distance of key railway stations, land which could provide space for figures upwards of 1 million homes. The assumption behind these proposals is that the majority of new residents will commute by rail to jobs in central London, enabling sustainable housing growth in the wider Metropolitan region without placing excessive strain on existing roads. However the implications of growth on commuting patterns is difficult to predict without looking at those already living in the green belt. Where are these residents travelling for work, and what methods of transport are they using to get there?

The RTPI examined commuting data for five medium-sized towns within the existing Metropolitan green belt, towns which are centred around railway stations and have direct connections to central London. We found that in these five towns, only 7.4% of commuters actually travel to inner London by train on a regular basis, despite living within easy walking or cycling distance of a station. The majority of commuters (72%) instead travel by private vehicle, mostly driving to jobs within their hometown and to other places not in London.

Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said:  “If 1 million new homes were built in the green belt in this way, this is likely to result in a huge increase in the number of car journeys being made across the green belt to work, and between schools health facilities and stations.  Quite apart from other good reasons why building in the green belt on such a scale might be opposed, these figures demonstrate a fundamental flaw in the reasoning that there is a quick fix and a sustainable solution to the housing crisis by putting large numbers of new homes close to railway stations. While it is difficult to predict exactly future commuting patterns, the overwhelming evidence is that people will use their cars and this will result in vastly increased numbers of car journeys in and through the green belt.”

Trudi Elliott, Chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said:  “The outcome of the analysis was surprising given the range of voices calling for housing around railway stations in the green belt. Our data shows, using one region of the green belt, just how complex the issue of commuting patterns is and how unpredictable they are likely to be in the future. The green belt is an important planning tool. Our findings demonstrate that it is vital to have an evidence base before you make major policy.”

The view of the RTPI is that brownfield sites should be looked at as a priority for housing but not all brownfield sites will be suitable. The housing crisis is complex and will require a number of different policy solutions, such as increasing access to mortgage finance, improving transport and infrastructure, encouraging the house builders to build more homes, and a strong, delivery focussed planning system. Major proposals for new homes, whether they are in the green belt or on brownfield sites, must be preceded by adequate investment in schools, health, transport and other infrastructure, and planned in a strategic and holistic way, with up to date local plans being critical. Any development in the green belt continues to need rigorous justification under the planning system and there are many checks and balances in place.

The five towns in the RTPI analysis were: Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe, Watford, Maidenhead and Bracknell.

The RTPI is also publishing today a short YouTube film and a new public information note explaining the history, background and purpose of the green belt.  A recent Ipsos Mori poll found 71% of all age groups knew just a little/ heard of but know nothing/never heard of green belt land. Among the under 34s this was 85% and among the under 24s the figure was 92%.

View the full report

View the YouTube film on green belt origins

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Have Your Say – Help HE shape the HAR register

Historic England are seeking opinions on ways in which to improve the Buildings At Risk Register and information on how you use it, through a simple online survey.

Find the survey online

HE on Heritage At Risk

HE compilation of Local Authorities which have BAR registers

IHBC newsblogs on buildings at Risk 

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Have Your Say – Place Assessment Tool

Architecture and Design Scotland and NHS Scotland are seeking views about the recently developed ‘Place Standard Assessment Tool’, through a short online survey.

A+DS writes:
A+DS has been working with partners NHS Scotland and Scottish Government to develop a Place Standard Assessment tool. The aim of the Place Standard tool is to support the delivery of high quality places – which can be instrumental in reducing health inequalities.

Earlier this year, the project team carried out a number of workshops and public engagement activities to gather your views on the Place standard tool. That feedback has assisted us in developing this new, working draft.

We would welcome your views. To complete a short survey and offer your comments please click this link

View the news release and more information on the tools (including comments on previous versions)

IHBC newsblogs on design

IHBC newsblogs on health

IHBC Scotland Branch

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London is the ‘most Googled’ for culture

London & Partners (the official promotional company for London) has released the results of a study which shows that London is the ‘most googled’ city in the world for cultural events and attractions.

London & Partners writes:
London is the most Googled city in the world for art galleries, performing arts and innovative art and design, according to new insights released by London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company for the city, and Google to mark the launch of London’s blockbuster Autumn Season of Culture.

Search insights from Google show that London’s theatres generate more searches than those in any other city, while international searches for globally renowned museums rank the Science Museum in London as the most Googled museum in the world*.

The Natural History Museum and the British Museum rank second and third according to Google, followed by The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

The data from Google also shows that London is the most searched for city in the world to visit. Separate research published by London & Partners and MHM Insight reveal that in 2014/15 London’s museums and galleries received 17.9 million overseas visits, accounting for 57% of the total 31.5 million visits.

View the full press release and information on the forthcoming cultural events in London

IHBC London Branch

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Energy efficiency and old buildings – how not to get it wrong!

Conference venue – Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives,








Join the IHBC Wales Branch for their conference on making traditional and historic buildings more energy efficient and sustainable without putting them at risk of unintended consequences.

Hear about:

  • What could happen when you don’t get it right!
  • What is best practice in the way we use and treat buildings including energy efficiency retrofit
  • Some of the latest research, decision making tools and guidance.

Clear your diary for Wednesday 2nd September 2015 (9.30am – 1.30pm) at Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives – all for only £30 (including lunch and refreshments)

Find out more and BOOK NOW 

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Call for Evidence- House of Lords Select Committee on BE

The House of Lords Select Committee for the Built Environment has released a call for written evidence, on policy making for the built environment; aiming to ‘ensure better planning and design and whether we have the right balance between national policy and local accountability for planning decisions’- closing date for submissions is 6 October.

The House of Lords Select Committee for Built Environment writes:
The new House of Lords Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has today issued its call for written evidence, setting out the scope of its inquiry and asking for evidence submissions.  Issues around housing and the built environment are a pressing concern in England with parts of the country facing acute housing shortages and an affordability crisis, while the legacy of poorly planned and designed developments can blight communities.

The Committee will seek to establish what steps can be taken to ensure better planning and design and whether we have the right balance between national policy and local accountability for planning decisions. It will also examine the pressing national need for appropriate homes for a changing population, bearing in mind that decisions taken today will have continuing effects in the years to come.

Commenting Baroness O’Cathain, Chairman of the Committee, said:

‘We live, travel and work in the built environment and it affects us all in numerous ways, from our health and happiness to the strength of our communities and the prevalence of crime and anti-social behaviour. It is increasingly clear that the design and quality of our places, and therefore our lives, could be improved.

‘We need to plan our built environment to meet future demographic, environmental, economic and social challenges. Design and architecture, public and green spaces, the sustainability and resilience of buildings and the provision of vital infrastructure are all essential parts of this process. To achieve this, we need the right priorities, policies and incentives from national Government and the sufficient skills and resources for local government to deliver on an ambitious vision for the future. In this country we have a wonderful heritage of excellent housing in lovely settings; we must ensure that future generations can be proud of the legacy resulting from the decisions and actions of this generation.

‘The supply of housing is a long-standing problem; delivery has neither kept up with public need nor politicians’ targets. We need to look at new ways of tackling the obstacles that have prevented progress being made and we need an appropriate planning regime to ensure a balance between giving local residents a voice and meeting our urgent needs.

‘Improving our built environment is likely to be a key area for Government policy over the next decade and our inquiry gives people the chance to make their voice heard. When it comes to the built environment, all of us have views on the places we live, and I would therefore encourage as many people as possible to send us written evidence before our deadline on 6 October.’

The call for written evidence contains thirteen questions that the Committee wish to receive responses to.

View the news release

Respond to the call for evidence

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