Architects’ lobby group launches general election campaign

Planning Houses

Architects will press general election candidates to support construction of at least 300,000 homes a year in the next parliament.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched its general election campaign, Build a Better Britain, which calls on all parties to focus on new homes, well-planned places, flood damage prevention, energy efficient buildings and tackling dilapidated schools.

President Stephen Hodder said: “The built environment is vital to the financial and social success of our communities and country and the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants.

“Now is the time to talk about what that means locally and how every prospective MP can champion the built environment in their area.”

RIBA pointed to a “desperate need to build homes”, with only 107,000 built in 2012-13 against the 1.5m it said were needed by 2020. Their call for 300,000 homes a year to be built is more ambitious than most lobby groups and political parties’ targets, with Labour pledging to build 200,000 homes a year if it gets elected.

Additional schools would be needed as the population increases, with some 256,000 extra places being created this year alone.

RIBA said standardisation of buildings should be exploited to bring economies of scale and “help create timeless, but better value buildings”.

Some 5.2m homes were at risk of flooding, with assets of all kinds worth £200bn in danger from flood damage.

The next government should give local authorities more powers to refuse planning permission for developments in areas vulnerable to flooding, RIBA said.

More on the campaign here.