Councillors' Attitude Towards Residential Design

Fri 21 Jun 2019

As a nation it is clear that for too long we have been building too few homes, and those we have been building are of a quality that often alienates the communities they are meant to serve, rather than uniting them in an aspiration to build more. This has become a major political problem, and one which is occupying the minds and endeavours of our politicians nationally, as well as locally around the country.

As key decision-makers within their localities, not least as guardians of the local planning system, local councillors play a critical role in helping to shape the local built environment across the country.  Yet, despite this, we know little about their role and perspectives beyond anecdote and hearsay.  Recent Place Alliance research supported by the Urban Design Group had suggested that councillors themselves are increasingly poorly prepared and equipped to take on such a critical design decision-making role.  Indeed, only half of councillors receive any kind of design training at all, and this is typically minimal.

To understand better the role of English councillors as regards the design of new housing development: their aspirations, priorities, challenges and responsibilities, a new Place Alliance survey was launched in 2018 with support from the Design Network.

The research findings, based on the responses of 1213 local authorities councillors across England, are summarised on the Place alliance website where the research can be downloaded in full.

Author: Prof Matthew Carmona and the Place Alliance Team

Cover Image: Place Alliance

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