Councils warned on gender duty failure

Local authority planners are failing to consider women's needs in regeneration projects, according to a University of Cambridge study.

Women are disadvantaged because layouts do not take account of the way they use public space in contrast to men, the university's centre for housing and planning research has found.

Whereas men tend to make a simple return journey to work, the report says women often combine the commute with a visit to a school or the shops. Their employment prospects and choice of home are sometimes limited by out-of-reach facilities.

Since April last year, authorities have had a duty to promote gender equality and remove discrimination. The report suggests that few have got to grips with the law.

"Gender is still a relatively new consideration for planners and local authorities," said research associate Gemma Burgess. "Authorities have not yet managed to engage with the real implications of the legislation."

A DCLG spokesman said PPS12 on spatial planning specifically requires councils to consider gender equality. "Our reform places diverse communities at the heart of the system," he said.

British Urban Regeneration Association chairwoman and CB Richard Ellis head of regeneration Jackie Sadek said: "Sustainable regeneration can only be achieved when equality and diversity are tackled when programmes are being developed."

The report is available at

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