Create Streets has had real impact on opinion-formers and on government:
In March 2017, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell made a speech echoing our points on the importance of good design and the politics of new housing.
In February 2017 the Government’s Housing White Paper reflected much of our research, publications and policy suggestions into popular co-design – you can read our essay on the White Paper Eleven Pipers Piping... here.
In December 2016 the Government’s Estate Regeneration Strategy reflected much of our research and advice – particularly in the Good Practice Guide which also cited our book, Heart in the Right Street. Our Director was one of the members of Lord Heseltine’s panel.
Officials in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have recommended that plans lodged to demolish the Affinity Sutton Estate in Chelsea should be rejected. This was because they do not include enough replacement social and affordable housing, and the proposals are of insufficient high design quality and would not positively contribute to the surrounding townscape. Congratulations to the campaigners on the estate. We wrote about the estate previously, outlining how the proposed plans actually reduced the overall amount of housing on the site.
In November 2016, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, James Murray, echoed one of our core arguments in an interview with the Evening Standard: “We need to decide what high-density accommodation will look like. At the moment we tend to think about towers but you can actually get very high density with six, eight, 10 storeys — like the terraces you see in Kensington.”
In November 2016, Transport Minister John Hayes MP, made a prominent speech calling for more beauty in design and citing our 2014 research, What People Want, for the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community that ‘84% of those asked want new buildings to reflect historic form, style and materials.’
On 10 July 2016 we were named as one of the 2016 New Radicals, one of the "50 radical-thinking individuals and organisations changing the UK for the better" by Nesta and The Observer.
On 8 April 2016 an op ed by Ed West in the Evening Standard cited and supported our research at length arguing for a more conventional streetscape and citing our survey for Save Oval where, as the article puts it: “92 per cent of 147 residents preferred “Kennington”-style Victorian architecture over “Vauxhall”-style tower blocks."
On 6 April 2016 the Evening Standard editorial wrote: 'As Zac Goldsmith has pointed out, there also needs to be a focus on high-density, medium-rise housing in central London. London could accommodate far more people, as Paris does, by dint of building apartment blocks, like mansion blocks, which house large numbers of people without impinging on the skyline. How we build matters.' We think that means they are supporting us !
Sadiq Khan has proposed intensifying estates with a mixture of 'in-fill' development and estate regeneration where 'there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation, and that demolition is only permitted where it does not result in a loss of social housing or where all other options have been exhausted, with full rights for displaced tenants and a fair deal for leaseholders.' Amen to that.
We were delighted to see that Zac Goldsmith has really engaged with our work and the issues of direct planning, community consent and the need for rules and processes to change in order to deliver that.
Pointing out that 'there is a huge disconnect between what gets built and what most Londoners actually want', he has promised to 'work with government to reduce the nonsensical planning rules that make it harder to build the homes London loves', referred to the popularity of conventional streets and promised to 'help communities co-design development' – and speed up planning approvals for developers who follow these locally-led rules. It is great to see a politician profoundly taking on the importance of community consent, consultation and co-design. And it is really encouraging to see (we like to think) the influence of our work in these policies: 'As the organisation Create Streets has argued, the complex planning system in London has created ugly blocks designed by committee rather than the human-scale streets for which there is greater popular demand.'
On 17 February 2016 the Centre for Social Justice (chaired by member of Create Streets network John Moss) published Home Improvements, a Social Justice Approach to Housing Policy. In reflecting the importance of design and of co-design for estate regeneration, this picked up on much of our research and evidence.
On 9 February 2016 our director joined the Prime Minister's Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel chaired by Lord Heseltine to 'look at how the layout of estates can be best used to deliver more quality homes that people can buy and rent'. The panel met for the first time at the York Road Estate in Battersea.
On 5 February 2016 The Mayor's Design Advisory Group published their report, Growing London. Importantly, for the first time in a GLA document, this conceded that ‘policies in the London Plan and associated Supplementary Planning Guidance’ might have unfortunate unintended consequences on what we build including ‘poor quality street frontage [and] the “poor door” phenomenon.’ Much more to be done but a very welcome step in the right direction…(We gave evidence to the Advisory Group last year)
On 29 January 2016 GLA Planning Committee report Up or out: a false choice reflected our arguments on role of terraced streets, cited our work and even used one of our pictures!
On 26 January 2016 Lord O'Shaughnessy spoke in Housing and Planning Bill Debate: 'a trade-off between allowing more freedom to build homes and giving authorities more powers to ensure local design principles are met might be one way to deliver the homes we so desperately need ...Residents are much more amenable to new homes if they conform to the aesthetic norms of the area.'
On 25 January 2016 London Citizens’ Housing Manifesto 2016 called for “a decision-making steering group made up of local people affected by a development must be included to work alongside the developer.” We were delighted to sit on the independent panel that fed into London Citizens’ manifesto
On 25 January 2016 the Barnet Labour Housing Commission chaired by Nicky Gavron ALM supported our policy to 'involve residents on regeneration estates in the co-design and planning of their new estate from the outset' and cited our research.
On 11 January 2016 Savills published their report to the Cabinet Office, Completing London's Streets to which Create Streets contributed urban design and policy analysis
On 10 January 2016 David Cameron announced the Government's plans to "announce that some of the country’s most run-down housing estates will be replaced with attractive and safe homes" with an article in The Sunday Times. We were particularly pleased that he identified issues with 'pointless planning rules' preventing progress and the need for 'binding guarantees for tenants and homeowners so that they are protected.'
On 25 November 2015 the Government's Autumn Statement pledged to "regenerate more run-down estates."
On 23 November 2015 mayoral candidate, Zac Goldsmith MP, supported our argument for community-led regeneration on public sector land and estates and for "low-rise, high-density, street-based developments that people actually want to live in."
On 20 November 2015 the Direct Planning (Pilot) Bill received support from Labour and the cross-benches in the House of Lords and passed to Committee Stage. Thank you to Lord Lexden for his support and to the Government for offering to discuss next steps.
On 27 October 2015 Create Streets was delighted to be a partner organisation to the BIMBY (Beauty-in-my-back-yard) toolkit for local communities alongside the National Trust, the Local Government Association, Civic Voice and others and to speak at its launch.
On 28 September 2015 mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith MP, supported our plans for community-led regeneration in London. He repeated this support in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 6 October 2015.
On 17 September 2015 our proposals at Mount Pleasant for the Mount Pleasant were supported by Labour's London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan MP and shortlisted Conservative candidates Zac Goldsmith MP and Andrew Boff ALM.
On 3 June 2015, Lord Lexden introduced the Direct Planning (Pilot) Bill into the House of Lords. We have been working with on this Bill which is an attempt to give communities greater workable influence on the quality of what is built. Read more here.
In March 2015 Lord Adonis (Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and advisor on housing to Tessa Jowell) published City Villages with the IPPR which took on board some of our points and cited our research.
In December 2014 we were asked to join the Government's Design Panel alongside Sir Terry Farrell, Quinlan Terry, Roger Scruton and RIBA, RTPI, the Prince's Foundation for Building Communities and the Design Council.
In September 2014 the London Labour mayoral candidate, David Lammy, called for ‘innovative ways of building high density but high quality housing in the form of Victorian-style terraces or low-rise blocks’ and cited our analysis. (p.15).
In September and July 2014 our work and the issue of streets vs. blocks was discussed in the London Assembly by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who agreed with some of our analysis on the impact of rules on built form.
In March 2014 the Budget followed our suggestion and created a £150m fund to help finance estate regeneration. The prospectus was published in June 2014. It follows many Create Streets principles as well as mentioning Create Streets by name (p.6).
In December 2013, the GLA funding prospectus for London’s housing investment programme followed our suggestion and relaxed standard 3.2.5. It is no longer recommended: 'for buildings entered from communal circulation at the first, second or third floor where lifts are not provided, space should be identified within or adjacent to the circulation core for the future installation of a wheelchair accessible lift.'