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Government rejects built environment role

Houses of Parliament, London

The government has rejected a select committee proposal to create a chief built environment officer, instead pledging to develop the existing chief planner role.

A House of Lords select committee on the built environment made the recommendation in its report, Building Better Places, published in February.

The recommendation came after the government scrapped the post of chief construction adviser last year.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has now published the government’s detailed response to the committee’s report, rejecting its suggestion for a chief built environment officer, along with several other proposals.

“At present the chief planner provides the central leadership to ensure the planning system supports the delivery of housing growth, climate change, sustainable economic development and works to protect and enhance the natural environment,” the report states.

“The chief planner’s priorities include helping local authorities deliver their local plans for better housing and sustainable communities and to ensure that planning promotes the development of prosperous and vibrant communities.”

It goes on to say that transferring responsibility for architecture from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the Department for Communities and Local Government means that housing and planning policy will benefit as a result.

“We will look at developing the chief planner role to include discussing and facilitating communication and implementation of policy on the built environment and to identifying and sharing good practice across and beyond government,” it adds.

“We consider this a better use of resources than creating a specific new senior role.”

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