A majority of people in the North East would support housing developments if the necessary new infrastructure was integrated with it, research by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has shown.
The finding comes as part of a comprehensive assessment done by the Institution on the relationship between the UK’s housing and infrastructure networks. Survey research found that 60% of British adults would support the building of more housing in their local area if any necessary new infrastructure was built at the same time.
The Institution says a reform of the way infrastructure and housing are delivered, ensuring a more strategic and aligned approach, is necessary if the government is to deliver on its housebuilding programme.
As part of its annual State of the Nation report series, ICE highlights the interdependent relationship between housing and economic infrastructure – making recommendations to help bring these two important sectors closer together.
One way to do this, ICE suggests, is to create regional infrastructure strategies across England to better ensure effective integration of infrastructure and housing planning across boundaries and at local, regional and national levels.
The report, State of the Nation 2019: Connecting Infrastructure with Housing, was launched today (10 September) at an event at the ICE’s London headquarters.
Penny Marshall, Penny Marshall, the ICE’s regional director for the North East, said: “Earlier this year, we were pleased to host a colloquium of some of our region’s leading lights from the housing and infrastructure sectors, to offer their contributions to State of the Nation 2019. It was very apparent that there was real appetite for joined up thinking when it comes to residential development. Very often, residents occupying areas adjoining new housing sites, are concerned about the adequacy of existing infrastructure. Addressing this issue is fundamental to delivering on the ambitious house building plans needed to meet growing need.”
Rachel Skinner FICE, ICE Vice President and Chair of the report’s Steering Group, said: “We know that the provision of housing in the UK, as a key part of creating high-quality, productive places, is one of the country’s most pressing problems. However, we must also recognise that without properly integrated infrastructure, it can often fail to meet the needs of the places it hopes to support.
“There is now clear evidence that shows the majority of the population would support new housing projects if they included the necessary infrastructure, such as transport, energy and water. ICE’s State of the Nation 2019 report comprehensively assesses the ways in which we can better deliver infrastructure and housing in a coordinated and integrated way, which will have long-term benefits for communities throughout the country.
“As we collectively strive to ensure that there are enough houses in the UK to support the growing population, we can’t afford for swathes of new developments to be served by poor infrastructure connections and public services. It is essential for us to get this right through strategic and collaborative approaches, while also taking advantage of appropriate technological advances.”
Sir John Armitt CBE FICE, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “New housing is essential if the UK is to meet the demands of a growing population, but it needs effective infrastructure to transform houses and flats into thriving communities where people want to live and work.
“We also need homes and places designed for our future, not our past. That means housing set up for the switch to low-carbon power and heating and designed with electric car charging in mind and fast digital connectivity as a necessity not a luxury, situated in well-designed communities – connected by effective transport networks – that can support jobs, growth and a good quality of life.
“Too often, however, infrastructure and housing delivery aren’t properly aligned. The ICE’s call for more integrated housing and infrastructure planning is a welcome contribution to this increasingly important discussion.”