Highway engineers should relinquish their stranglehold over the design of public streets and spaces, allowing multidisciplinary teams to make them more pedestrian friendly, according to a report by a parliamentary select committee.
The report, Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener, says that if public spaces are safe and well maintained, they will make towns more vibrant, improve personal health, create a sense of community and improve the economy.

It notes that public spaces are often poorly planned, dominated by cars and cluttered with street furniture, signs and rails.

"All new spaces should be designed first and foremost to meet the needs of pedestrians," it concludes.

The report calls on government to increase funding for public spaces and on local authorities to set up multidisciplinary teams to design and manage them. It also recommends that CABE, the architectural watchdog, should widen its remit beyond green areas to cover all public spaces.