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Berkeley, Events and Speeches, Tony Pidgley

Creating successful places

Tony Pidgley CBE speaking in Guildford - Thursday 22 January 2015.

I want to start with some basic principles. I believe everyone has a right to have a home, whatever the tenure.  Every home should be in a good neighbourhood; somewhere safe and attractive, close to shops and schools.  The right place, in the right environment.  Our challenge is how to deliver this.

Housing demand is intense right across the South East. It cannot be avoided or built elsewhere.  Many of you here will have worked very hard to educate your children.  We can't now say to them "you cannot have a home".  

So there will be more and more applications for large-scale development; and these are going to change the shape and nature of many communities.

My question is therefore, how do we do this well? How do we do it together? And how do we take the public with us on the journey?

Here are three ideas to start the debate:

First, planning is not just about numbers.  The NPPF defines a social purpose for planning.  It's right at the top in paragraph 7.  Planning should create strong communities, in a high quality built environment and support people's social and cultural life.  

That is not just guidance. It's the law.

Second, delivery depends on getting communities, councils and developers on the same page.  Too often we fight our own corner, trying to control what happens on a parcel of land.  I know that model of development doesn't work. Instead we need a partnership, with a common language and the same criteria for what good looks like.
In other words, we need to collaborate.

Third, this is all about place-making, not just housing.  New development has to consider both the social and the physical fabric of a community.  As well as handsome architecture and great streets, residents want a good social life; they want links with neighbours, somewhere to meet, somewhere to play, and the ability to influence what goes on.

This agenda is about people's wellbeing, not just hitting housing targets. It's a chance to deliver better social outcomes.  

House-building is not just about providing people with shelter and accommodation. It's got the potential to create fantastic places which transform people's quality of life.

And that's what inspires me every day.

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