Four planners to advise parliamentary 'suburban taskforce'

Four planners have been named among an advisory board to the cross-party parliamentary "suburban taskforce", which has now issued a public call for evidence.

London's suburbs will the Taskforce's initial focus - image: Getty
London's suburbs will the Taskforce's initial focus - image: Getty

Co-chaired by Dr Rupa Huq MP and David Simmons MP, and with politicians from both Houses of Parliament, the taskforce was announced in March 2020 and aims to support the long-term sustainability of suburban areas.

Planner Jonathan Manns, head of planning and development at developer Rockwell Property, has been named as chair of its seven-strong advisory board.

Three other chartered planners are members of the board. They are:

  • Richard Blyth, head of policy and practice, Royal Town Planning Institute;
  • Nicholas Falk, founder director of design and research consultancy URBED;
  • Tony Mulhall, associate director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors;

The three other board members are:

  • Katie Perrior, chair of InHouse Communications and former Number 10 director of communications;
  • Will Tanner, director of thinktank Onward;
  • Peter Murray, chairman of sector forum New London Architecture.

Manns said: "The recent pandemic has reminded us of the importance of our suburbs and the taskforce is a key step towards giving these areas the attention they deserve to ensure they are sustained and enhanced in the future."

The taskforce is also supported by University College London's Bartlett School of Planning, whose research associate Dr Lucy Natarajan serves as academic advisor, and by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London's Planning and Built Environment.

While seeking to identify national trends, the taskforce will focus on London in its first phase, looking at current social, economic and environmental circumstances and at policy tools available, including the planning system.

The taskforce has this week launched a public call for evidence on the current state of Britain's suburbs, from which it then intends to make recommendations to the government on policy initiatives to enhance them.

Manns said on this: "The more data and perspectives received, the more effective the taskforce can be in considering the issues and opportunities facing these crucial parts of our towns and cities."

Dr Rupa Huq added: "Our suburbs are the home of the majority of our population and at risk of being overlooked and neglected.

"Suburbs have been considered unproblematic and left by themselves under the pressures of austerity and are now facing the problems of inequality and underfunding whilst still being under pressure to expand or intensify."

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