Base local plans on a shared vision for every town - not a "call for sites"

Local plans should be based on a shared vision for each town developed with the community, rather than relying on landowners and developers to propose sites for development.


This recommendation comes from a paper by an expert group of urban designers and built environment professionals convened by the Urban Design Group. 

Currently, planning is dominated by landowners responding to "calls for sites" from local authorities. This often results in a wide scatter of development sites, leading to housing being built in places that can only be accessed by cars, increasing congestion and the need for major roadbuilding and larger car parks, along with the ineffective use of land and needless loss of countryside. This approach makes it difficult to plan the infrastructure necessary for a good quality of life.

The paper suggests that each town should first develop a shared vision with the community. This vision should outline the town's future shape and character, considering the landscape, existing transport, and community infrastructure. A shared vision will allow for better planning, resulting in attractive environments, congestion-free streets, quality public transport, and accessible shops, leisure, and work areas. It will also mean more green space, and less countryside and farmland lost to development.

Over the next ten years, around three million new homes could be built in the UK together with supporting uses such as convenience shops and services, schools and workplaces. At current typical housing densities around 90 square miles of land will be needed to accommodate this – an area roughly the size of Surrey.

These recommendations do not require new legislation but do call for a change in local authorities' practices.


Full report