Deputy prime minister John Prescott welcomed the urban taskforce report and promised that its recommendations would form the framework of the government’s forthcoming urban and rural white papers.

However, Prescott appeared to backtrack on the government’s commitment to ensure that 60% of new homes are built on brownfield sites, following the taskforce’s warning that the figure was unattainable without limits on greenfield use.

Prescott said: “It’s vital we don’t become obsessed with this figure. What’s important is the difference we make to people’s lives. We intend to work with local authorities to keep the [brownfield sites] database up.” The RIBA welcomed the report’s emphasis on architecture within the urban design process and announced its intention to create a new architectural qualification that would recognise the “higher level of design skill” that an urban architect requires.

The RICS declared itself in favour of the creation of public-private partnerships, saying they would help kick-start urban regeneration.

However, a spokesman added that the government needed to bring the taskforce’s recommendations off the drawing board and implement them.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England, whose assistant director Tony Burton served on the taskforce, also called on the government to act on the recommendations.

CPRE director Kate Parminter said: “The taskforce needs a positive, government-wide response to secure a brighter future for both town and country.”