A new Parliamentary report on disability and the built environment has echoed the RTPI’s call for more inclusive planning both by local authorities and national government.
In its latest report published today, the Women and Equalities Committee said the Government must act to lead the charge in improving access and inclusion in the built environment. This should include public procurement, fiscal initiatives, sharing best practice, and bringing the full range of work on improving access and inclusion into a coherent and transparent strategy, with the DCLG held responsible for making this happen.
Think about disability needs earlier in the process
In her evidence to the Committee, RTPI Chief Executive Trudi Elliot described the 2012 Olympic Games as a shining example of inclusive planning and delivery, and highlighted the need to start thinking about disability needs much earlier in the process.
She said: “The Olympic Games was all about proactive planning, and using every tool, planning and non-planning, in the box. By the time an application gets to planning we have missed too many moments. In the Olympics, the planning tools were aligned with the procurement tools. That is a very, very powerful way forward.”
The report highlights the challenges disabled people face in accessing homes, buildings and public spaces, an issue which was discussed in RTPI’s recent Dementia and Town Planning practice advice.
Good design and planning helps everyone
Ms Elliott said: “At the heart of our dementia advice note is the underlying principle that good design helps everyone, and is therefore worth the effort and investment to make it better. We are pleased that the Committee agrees with this and that the report is raising awareness in this area. We look forward to sharing our expertise with all those who have a role to improve accessibility for those in need.”
RTPI's work on inclusive planning
The RTPI has been actively promoting inclusive planning in its policy and research work. In February it called on local planning to play a much stronger role in creating dementia-friendly communities across the UK so that people with dementia can continue to stay in their own home for as long as possible, reducing the pressure on the NHS and controlling the costs for health and social care.
The RTPI is helping DCLG to organise three workshops to gather views from stakeholders, including our members to inform new planning guidance on housing and the built environment for older and disabled people that they are developing.
The Institute has also worked with the Construction Industry Council on six essential principles that helps practitioners to achieve an inclusive environment for clients, employers and society.
The full Parliamentary Report, Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment, is here.