A new House of Lords Select Committee on the Built Environment is to be established after the forthcoming General Election to scrutinise and explore place making and built environment policy. The bid for the new, cross-party Select Committee was submitted by Baroness Janet Whittaker, the Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and Baroness Kay Andrews, following discussions with the Farrell Review team.
In a House of Lords debate on the Farrell Review last year, a Select Committee for the built environment was first proposed by Lord Hunt of Chesterton. He said: “We have never had a select committee on this subject. [They] are extraordinarily powerful bodies… it would be the only way to have a genuine cross-cutting move.”
The Farrell Review, which was published last year, called for a new level of connectedness between the Government departments, institutions, agencies and professions that shape our built environment so as to improve the quality of our everyday places. The Review argued that Government should adopt a range of policies within and for each of the departments that have the built environment within their portfolio.
These policies should be consistent when addressing the big issues like procurement, sustainability, accessibility, maintenance and stewardship and the public realm. The Review also called for the focus of policy-making to begin with the core ‘places’ of villages, towns and cities and be enabled by Government but led independently by the industry.
In response to the establishment of a Select Committee on the Built Environment, Sir Terry Farrell said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the creation of a Select Committee for the Built Environment and am enormously grateful to Baroness Janet Whitaker for all she has done to secure it. The stewardship, long-term planning and identity of real places should be a fundamental part of built environment policy. This Select Committee will be a powerful new voice in that debate and we look forward to hearing more detail about its remit in due course.”
The second progress report on the Farrell Review, published in January 2015, can be downloaded at www.farrellreview.co.uk/download