RIBA responses to government consultations on housing and planning
Whoever you are, wherever you live and whatever your situation, you should have the right to expect your home to be affordable, safe and sustainable.
Through our consultation responses, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) works closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to rethink how houses and communities are planned, designed and built.
House of Lords Built Environment Committee: Meeting the UK's Housing Demand
This inquiry examines the demand for new housing in the UK and how barriers to meeting this demand can be overcome.
Our response urged the government to address the resources gap in local authority planning departments as well as highlighting the importance of obtaining advice from professional experts. Additionally, we reiterated the need for Post Occupancy Evaluation of housing projects and the damaging effects of some Permitted Development Rights.
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee: Permitted Development Rights
This inquiry examines the impact that an expansion of the Permitted Development Rights (PDR) system has had, and will continue to have, on the planning system and the government's targets for new homes and economic growth.
Our response urged the government to reverse recent changes to PDRs so that they may only be applied when development or change of use does not have any significant impact on people’s health or wellbeing, or on the environment.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code consultation proposals
This consultation sought views on draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework and the draft National Model Design Code, which provides detailed guidance on the production of design codes, guides and policies to promote successful design.
Our response urged the government to promote the use of suitably qualified professionals as the best route to achieving good design outcomes. Additionally, we would like to see further amendments to strengthen environmental policies and clarification on inclusivity within community engagement.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Right to Regenerate: reform of the right to contest
This consultation set out a number of questions relating to the effectiveness of Strand 2 (land owned by a local authority or certain other public bodies) of the Right to Contest under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.
Our response encouraged the Commission to introduce a presumption in favour of retaining public land.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure
This consultation contains proposed measures to support housing delivery, economic recovery, and public service infrastructure.
Our response highlights concerns about the impacts that permitted development has had on the quality, safety and sustainability of new homes. While several proposals within the consultation will address some of these issues, we remain of the view that there is little evidence to justify the need for the use of permitted development as a means of accelerating the development of new homes.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Raising accessibility standards for new homes
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consulted on how to raise accessibility standards, recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people.
Our response called on government to mandate the current M4(2) requirement in Building Regulations to ensure all new homes meet minimum accessibility standards and adequate space standards.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Planning for the Future
The government launched the White Paper: Planning for the Future to reform the planning system in England. The suggested reforms are the most radical reforms to the English planning system in decades.
Our response highlighted that Planning for the Future must be the start of a wider conversation about how the built environment in England responds to environmental, economic and demographic changes. The RIBA also noted that more detail on how the new system would work is urgently needed.
Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission
The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission launched a call for evidence on how to improve the design of homes and neighbourhoods through the planning and development process, including seeking views on the role of beauty in the planning system.
The RIBA has called on the Commission to ensure that beauty is incorporated into a broader definition – quality design – which is focused on securing positive outcomes for the people that will use and interact with the places being built.
Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee: modern methods of construction
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee launched an inquiry into the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver new housing. The inquiry investigated how national and local government can support the use of MMC and encourage innovation in the sector.
We recommended that the government should change its procurement process to recognise the wider benefits of development and move away from a focus on best price and promote the use of Post Occupancy Evaluation.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: planning reform – supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes
The government’s 'Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes' consultation proposes to introduce flexibility to react to local circumstances by allowing employment space to be converted into residential easily.
Our response warned of the damaging consequences that would result from expanding a policy which since it was established in 2013 has led to a drastic decline in standards across England.
Communities and Local Government Select Committee: housing and older people
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry examined whether the housing on offer for older people is sufficiently available and suitable for their needs and, in doing so, considered how they may wish to live.
Our response called on government to introduce a distinct, clear planning use class for older people and make it less onerous to adopt accessibility requirements into local plans.
Public Accounts Select Committee: housing - state of the nation
In recent years, the need for housing in England has grown faster than its supply, and housebuilding needs to increase across the country. This inquiry asked what government needs to do to meet the rising demand for housing.
Our response highlighted the need for government to promote the use of post-occupancy evaluation and commission the Chief Planner to produce an annual report providing high-level monitoring of quality and delivery within the built environment.