Government appoints three planners to help implement white paper design changes

The government has unveiled the members of a group that will explore how to set up the national design body intended to advise local authorities on implementation of the planning white paper.

Victoria Hills (Pic: RTPI)
Victoria Hills (Pic: RTPI)

The new body was first announced in October, when the government appointed Nicholas Boys Smith as its head. 

The body is tasked with advising authorities on how to make use of the design guidance and locally-produced design codes that the government wants to play an increasing part in plan-making and development management. The body is also meant to broadly challenge the development sector to build better places.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) confirmed the names but not the employers of the group members, who have been appointed in a personal capacity. However, taking into consideration the profile in the sector of people with these names, Planning has inferred that the group includes three chartered planners: 

  • Victoria Hills, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

  • Adrian Penfold, head of planning at developer British Land

  • Anna Rose, head of the planning advisory service (PAS) at the Local Government Association

The other members of the group (whose names have been confirmed by the government, but not their job titles or employers) are:

  • Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of independent trust, Power to Change

  • Andrew Cameron, director at consultancy Andrew Cameron and Associates

  • Esther Kurland, director at consultancy Urban Design London

  • Rt Hon Ben Gummer, former minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general from July 2016 until June 2017

  • Ben Page, chief executive of market research company Ipsos MORI 

  • Robert Adam, owner of Robert Adam Architectural Consultancy

  • Sarah James, policy and membership development officer at charity Civic Voice

  • Stephen Stone, housebuilding expert

  • Paul Monaghan, partner at architecture practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)

  • Sir John Hayes MP (parliamentary representative)

The government has also outlined the initial aims of the steering group. They include finding the most effective ways to support local authorities in implementing design codes, ensuring that community feedback is fed into local design guidance, and that design codes are supported by digital tools and processes. 

The group has also been asked to work out its strategic objectives for the next three years, and report to the secretary of state Robert Jenrick by March 2021. 

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