While the pressure to deliver housing numbers is rising, it is increasingly important that we have a conversation about what sort of places we build. Our research, in partnership with the Ramblers, shows that local authorities want to build places that encourage walking and active travel, but developers do not always share these priorities. Many councils feel the mismatch is a challenge in achieving their goals.
We surveyed and interviewed council officers from across England for the research. Our key findings include:
- Nine out of ten councils say access to walking infrastructure is a priority, but only half feel that developers agree with them; over a third say that walking or access to green space is not a priority for developers.
- Two fifths of councils say they have experienced difficulty meeting their walking and active travel priorities when delivering large developments. While most developments over the past ve years were in line with targets, around one in ten were seen as not in line with health and wellbeing strategies.
- Eight out of ten told us that viability assessments make it difficult to meet priorities, while seven out of ten told us that in uencing developers was a challenge.
- The lack of resources in planning departments was also highlighted as a barrier by half of respondents.
- Almost all (96 per cent) of respondents said their council had refused developments in the past based on poor quality of design, though considerably fewer had refused developments due to lack of walking connectivity. Some cited the importance of pre-application discussions in ironing out potential problems early on in the process.