The parliamentary round-table was hosted and chaired by Lucy Allan MP for Telford, and Chair of the APPG on New Towns. Speakers included Scott Logan, Managing Director of Basildon Council; Steve Wood, chief executive of the NHBC; Mary Parsons, chair of the TCPA and group director of placemaking and regeneration at Places for People; and Lindsey Richards Head of Planning at Homes England.
The discussion focussed on estate regeneration, the procurement of land and management of housing, mixed communities, the importance of placemaking and ensuring development is sustainable, innovative design, providing the type of homes needed and engaging with the community early on to establish a collaborative vision.
Cllr Nicola Lowery, Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and Borough Councillor for the Ironbridge Gorge said: “As one of the fastest growing Towns and given the level of development we have seen in Telford, we need to really consider how people live and ensure our new homes connect with the wider place. In Telford I feel certainly as a Member of our Planning Committee that there is a real opportunity to achieve a better balance between growth and protecting our environment, to avoid piecemeal development that expands into our rural areas.
“Now is the time for innovation, quality design and better community engagement. Today I raised how Homes England, TCPA and the APPG could assist in holistic master planning and attracting more responsible, innovative developers given some of our more complex brownfield and industrial sites that have a history of mining and particularly sites of industrial heritage such as the Coalbrookdale foundry.
“In Telford I feel we are now at a crossroad of really considering how we sustainably expand our Borough. Development must be inclusive, as historically I feel from speaking with many residents and on planning applications, many within our community have not felt that developers have had a consultative approach, maximised profit above community and failed to connect with our functional structure, which has had real social impact within some areas.
“Within Telford I feel it’s vital we have a properly structured housing market offer to provide the kind of homes and tenure that our communities need. As it is only through collaboration and vision that we will sustainably expand our Borough and ensure the best future for our local area”.