Building Better Places


The National Policy for the Built Environment Committee, chaired by the Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, was appointed on 11 June 2015 to consider the development and implementation of national policy for the built environment and to make recommendations. Its wide remit encompassed, among many others, key areas such as urban design, planning and housing provision.

Professor Matthew Carmona was appointed Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment.

About the campaign

The Place Alliance’s submission looks at how the Alliance is addressing the future challenges and priorities for built environment policy, the primary focus of the Committee.  It reflects on the role that Place Alliance could play to help fill the design / place leadership gap left by the demise of the publically funded Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).  In doing so it addresses question 10, as posed by the Select Committee: “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?” 

Together With

Place exemplars

In advance of a meeting with Brandon Lewis MP, in July 2015 the Alliance asked its supporters to suggest exemplars of initiatives where local communities have been successfully brought into the planning, development and design of their areas, and where local powers have been used to positively shape places.  The report, “Place exemplars as nominated by Place Alliance supporters”, compiles the resulting collection of exemplar projects into three categories:

1. Housing and mixed use developments
2. Streets and public spaces
3. Local place shaping processes.

Committees Report: Building Better Places

The report of the Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment was published on 19 February 2016The National Policy for the Built Environment Committee asserted the importance of delivering a better built environment and criticised current government policy as unlikely to meet demand for either the quantity or quality of houses we need. The Committee is concerned about the quality of new developments, and about the risk of housing delivery being prioritised at the expense of other elements of the built environment.

Over the course of inquiry the Committee received 187 submissions of written evidence and took oral evidence from 58 witnesses in 27 evidence sessions. In total, 66 conclusions and recommendations have been made by the Committee and summarised at the end of this report. 

Government Response

In November 2016, the Government has published its response to the report by the Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment.

Commenting on the response, former Committee Chairman Baroness O’Cathain said:

“I am glad that we have now received a response to our report, and it is good to see that the Government are looking to improve things in some areas, including promoting good practice and monitoring health outcomes in the planning process.”

Further reading